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MARCATION LINE (14921494) 20 


(1493-1500) 33 


(1496-1502) 54 


AMERICA (1499-1507) 84 

THE SEARCH FOR A STRAIT (1508-1514). . . 104 

THE WORLD (15191522) 115 


COASTS (1512-1541) 133 


AMERICA (1517-1541) 149 


(1492-1580) 190 

1 , v 






POLICY (1493-1518) 202 

ISTRATION (1493-1821) 220 


1600) 243 


SPANISH AMERICA (1500-1821) .... 253 

xvin. NEGRO SLAVES (1502-1821) 269 


1821) 282 


(1493-1821) 302 


INDEX 339 


INDEX 355 


OF the many volumes published by Harper in the 
American Nation series, under the general editor- 
ship of Albert Bushnell Hart, between 1904 and 1908, 
several have stood the tests of time and advancing his- 
torical scholarship. One of these durable works is 
Spain in America, 1450-1580, by Edward Gaylord 
Bourne (1860-1908). The book holds a seemingly 
secure place in bibliographies of its field ; authorities of 
the stature of Samuel Eliot Morison continue to cite its 
judgments with respect. Robert Ergang 1 observes that 
it is "still the best concise work on the subject" ; R. A. 
Humphreys 2 calls it "admirable." These comments 
typify modern scholarly opinion of Bourne's book. 

What explains the enduring vitality of a survey writ- 
ten almost sixty years ago ? Charles Gibson has written 
that Bourne's merit "lay in the originality and acumen 
with which he interpreted sources, in the objectivity of 
his observation, and in the critical insights he applied 
to Spanish colonization prior to 1580. He did not pur- 
sue his subject in detail beyond the sixteenth century, 
but he did succeed, through an unequivocally scholarly 
presentation, in laying a positive assessment of early 

1 Europe From the Renaissance to Waterloo (N. Y., 1939), xiii. 
a Latin American History. A Guide to the Literature in English 
(London, 1958), p. ai. 



Hispanic colonization before the American public. He 
may justifiably be termed the first scientific historian of 
the United States to view the Spanish colonial process 
dispassionately and thereby to escape the conventional 
Anglo-Protestant attitudes of outraged or tolerant dis- 
paragement." 3 

Bourne brought to his work a rare erudition and a 
mastery of the art of historical criticism perhaps un- 
equaled by any of his contemporaries. To these sources 
of strength we may add a talent for synthesis that 
enabled Bourne to compress into a few pages the ele- 
ments of a problem as complicated as the Vespucci con- 
troversy; and a clear, simple style, ideal in a work 
designed for the general reader. 

The intellectual and political tendencies of his time 
unquestionably contributed to Bourne's achievement. 
The period in which he wrote saw the flowering of 
American scientific history, characterized by a strong 
emphasis on objectivity and critical use of sources. Not 
long before, Henry Adams had given a masterful ex- 
ample of the scientific method in his History of the 
United States of America during the Administrations 
of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. On a much 
smaller scale, Bourne applied the same principles of 
personal detachment and meticulous critical method to 
his study of Spain in America. 

Bourne's time also saw the rise, amid great public 
debate, of an American empire in the Caribbean and 
the Pacific, attended, in the case of the Philippines, by 

3 Charles Gibson and Benjamin Keen, 'Trends of United States 
Studies in Latin American History," American Historical Review, 
LXII (July 1957), 857. 


violent suppression by the United States of native 
rebels unwilling to accept her rule. It cannot be doubted 
that the new imperialist climate of opinion, America's 
new status as a colonial power, influenced Bourne's 
historical judgments and disposed him to view with 
greater sympathy the Spanish colonial process, 

A book almost six decades old cannot entirely escape 
historical correction. Bourne's work contains some 
factual errors. Thus, in regard to Columbus's early life 
and his First Voyage, we can state with assurance that 
Columbus was not born "about 1446," but between 
August and the end of October, 1451 ; that the story of 
the presence of an Englishman and an Irishman on the 
First Voyage is a myth ; and that the statement that at 
first "only the criminals in the jail were ready for the 
venture" rests on slight foundations. However, the few 
and relatively unimportant erVors in Bourne's book do 
not materially diminish its value. 

It is more important, perhaps, to note that two figures 
with whom Bourne dealt quite harshly, Sebastian Cabot 
and Amerigo Vespucci, have fared better at the hands 
of modern scholars. Particularly noteworthy is the re- 
cent effort to rehabilitate Vespucci, initiated by Alberto 
Magnaghi and pursued along varied lines by Frederick 
Pohl, Roberto Levillier, and others. I have indicated 
some recent writings on the Cabot and Vespucci prob- 
lems in my supplementary bibliography. 

The remarkable chapters on the Spanish colonial sys- 
tem are models of compression, organization, and lucid- 
ity ; they continue to have great value as an outline sketch 
or introduction to the subject. Rereading these brilliant 
chapters, one is struck by the modernity of Bourne's 


thought, by his dispassionate tone, by his relativism, 
illustrated by his skillful comparisons of Spanish co- 
lonial experience with that of other nations to put 
Spanish policies and actions in a better light. Bourne 
has been criticized for excessive reliance on the 
Recopilacidn de Leyes de las Indias, for confusing 
Spanish legislation with colonial reality. However, 
Bourne used not only law codes but travel accounts 
and other sources, and he was well aware of the fre- 
quent divorce between the law and actual colonial 
practice. Thus, on the subject of the treatment of Negro 
slaves, Bourne wrote : "On the relative humanity of the 
Spanish laws in regard to slavery there can be no 
doubt; but whether Spanish slaves were more kindly 
treated than French or English is a different and more 
difficult question/' 

Bourne initiated a scholarly reaction in the United 
States against the leyenda negra, the "black legend" of 
Spanish cruelty and fanaticism. This reaction continues 
to gain strength. Indeed, one may rightly ask whether 
the wheel has not turned full circle, and whether a 
leyenda blanca, a "white legend" of Spanish altruism 
and tolerance, is not beginning to emerge from the 
writings of such scholars as Lewis Hanke. Bourne 
never made a statement so sweepingly favorable to 
Spain as Hanke's claim, in his Aristotle and the Ameri- 
can Indians (1959), that "no other nation made so 
continuous or so passionate an attempt to discover 
what was the just treatment for the native peoples 
under its jurisdiction, as the Spaniards." 

The past six decades have greatly extended our 
knowledge and understanding of the Spanish colonial 


world that Bourne sketched with such deft strokes. 
Scholars have investigated the themes of discovery and 
conquest in much detail; they have explored virtually 
every corner of the political structure of the Spanish 
Empire in America; and in recent decades they have 
made extremely fruitful researches into colonial eco- 
nomic, social, and intellectual history. In returning 
Bourne's book to active service, it seemed desirable to 
supplement his "Critical Essay on Authorities" with a 
bibliography that would introduce the general reader to 
the large literature that has accumulated since the first 
publication of Spain in America. This bibliography is 
of course highly selective. Readers who wish to extend 
their acquaintance with the literature of the field are 
particularly directed to the guide of R. A. Humphreys 
and to the sections edited by H. F. Cline and C. E. 
No well in the new (1961) American Historical Asso- 
ciation Guide to Historical Literature. 



IN this volume begins the detailed narrative of 
the founding and development of the commu- 
nities now included within the United States of 
America ; and the story necessarily goes back to the 
discovery of the American islands and continents. 
The volume, therefore, closely connects with those 
chapters of Cheyney's European Background of 
American History (volume I. of this series) which 
deal with the intellectual ujhising in Europe and the 
determined efforts of the Portuguese to find a way 
to India. Professor Bourne in his earlier chapters 
summarizes and restates, with many original con- 
clusions, the controverted points with regard to the 
discovery of America. He counts Columbus a gen- 
uine discoverer and a man of lofty spirit, although 
unequal to the task of organizing and administering 
a colony. Out of the accumulated details on the 
discovery of America this volume selects those 
which are essential for the understanding of the 
problem and its solution; and it makes especially 
clear the division between Spain and Portugal by 
the demarcation line, not only in the Atlantic, but 
later in the Indian Ocean. 



The earliest interest of England in the New World 
is described in chapter v., and the myth of Sebastian 
Cabot's voyages is dissipated. The volume is espe- 
cially clear on the early development of the northern 
coast by the English and the Portuguese, and in 
chapters vi. and x. brings out the often neglected 
Spanish voyages along the eastern coast of the pres- 
ent United States. 

Chapter vii., on Amerigo Vespucci, reveals a truth 
which has been much obscured, that the name Amer- 
ica, derived from the Florentine voyager, spread 
slowly, was long applied only to South America, and 
for nearly two centuries was not habitually used by 
Spanish geographers. The Vespucci controversy is 
also made intelligible, and the solution of the writer 
seems inevitable. 

A feature of this volume is its careful treatment of 
the voyages succeeding Columbus, and especially of 
Magellan's wonderful achievement (chapter ix.); 
and the author seems to establish his thesis that the 
first circumnavigation of the globe was a more dar- 
ing, difficult, and wonderful achievement than the 
first voyage of western discovery. 

Chapters xi. and xii. are devoted to a summary 
account of the explorations north of the Gulf of 
Mexico and the attempts of the French to establish 
themselves in Florida. Except for the voyages of 
Verrazzano and Cartier, this is the first appearance 
of the French in America, and precedes, by about 
twenty years, the first efforts of the English to estab- 
lish a footing on the continent in the New World. 


The remainder of this volume (chapters xiii. to 
xx.) is devoted to an account of the system of Span- 
ish colonization. It should be read in connection with 
chapters v. and vi. of Cheyney's European Background, 
which describes Spanish institutions at home. The 
result of Professor Bourne's investigations, a result 
which seems supported by his references, is to es- 
tablish the existence of a Spanish culture in the colo- 
nies of an extent and degree not realized by previous 
writers. He shows that the first century of Spanish 
colonists produced larger results in relation to the 
natives, the building of towns and cities, the con- 
struction of roads and bridges, and the encourage- 
ment of learning than in the first century either of 
French or English colonization. Yet he points out 
the two fatal weaknesses of the Spanish system : the 
wretched restrictions of trade and the lack of ini- 
tiative and self-government. Upon the whole, he 
thinks the Indian better off under Spanish rule than 
has generally been supposed and the institution of 
negro slavery milder and of less importance. On 
the other hand, he points out, what has escaped 
most writers, that the prosperity of the main-land 
led almost to the depopulation of the islands, which 
did not again become important until about the 
time of the American Revolution. 

These original and suggestive conclusions are 
supported by copious foot-notes, and by a critical 
essay on authorities which furnishes the investi- 
gator and the chance reader with a key to the 


prime materials to the best general works bearing 
upon this important field of American history. 

The place of the volume in the series is to em- 
phasize the importance of the Spanish discovery and 
colonization, both as showing extraordinary skill and 
pertinacity in exploration and in serving as the 
medium for the transmission of European culture 
to America. To this day larger areas in America 
are dominated by the Latin civilization than by the 
Anglo-Saxon. Inasmuch as the later influence has 
overtaken the earlier, and our realm extends over 
lands which for three, and in some cases for four, 
centuries were Spanish, the volume has a most 
direct bearing on the founding of the American 


IT has been my design in preparing this volume 
to accomplish two objects, so far as was prac- 
ticable within the limits imposed by the conditions 
of the series to which it belongs. The first object 
was to provide an account, succinct and readable 
and abreast of present scholarship, of the discovery 
and exploration of the New World, from the birth 
of Christopher Columbus to the beginning of con- 
tinuous activity in colonization by the English, at 
which point the succeeding volume takes up the 
story. Anything like a detailed account of the 
conquest of Mexico has been omitted as not prepar- 
ing the way for future Anglo-Saxon occupation. 
The second part of my plan is to present an outline 
sketch of the Spanish colonial system and of the 
first stage of the transmission of European culture 
to America. This latter purpose seemed to me to 
be justified both by the intrinsic importance of the 
subject, some knowledge of which is essential for 
an understanding of effect on European politics of 
American colonization; and also by the considera- 
tions that more than one-half of the present terri- 
tory of the United States has at one time or another 
been under Spanish dominion ; that our country has 
assumed the responsibility of shaping the destiny 



of several millions of people whose total acquisi- 
tions of European culture have until very recently 
come through Spain; and that more and more, in 
the increasing contact of the United States with 
Spanish America, will an appreciative recognition 
of the work and purposes of Spain in America be 
of service in promoting friendly relations. 

The foot-notes and the bibliography reveal the 
sources from which the material has been derived. 
It is, therefore, unnecessary to make individual ac- 
knowledgments here; yet the extent to which my 
work has been facilitated by certain of my predeces- 
sors in the practical matters of shaping the propor- 
tions of the narrative, of fixing upon the essentials, 
of discovering the primary sources without unneces- 
sary loss of time, and of indicating the present con- 
clusions of scholars upon doubtful questions, would 
make it seem ungrateful, to myself at least, not to 
single out for particular mention, among the older 
works, Peschel's Das Zeitaliei der Entdeckungen and 
Winsor's Narrative and Critical History; and among 
the later ones, Ruge's Columbus, Errera's L'Epoca 
delle Grandi Scoperte Geografiche, Giinther's Das 
Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, and Hugues's Cronologia 
delle Scoperte e delle Esplorazioni Geografiche. 

I wish also gratefully to acknowledge the value of 
Professor Hart's editorial suggestions, which have 
improved the form of the book without imposing 
irksome restraints upon the writer. 







historic life of the ancient world was 
1 grouped about the Mediterranean Sea, and that 
body of water invited the early spirit of adventure 
and exploration. Its broad bosom was the highway 
of arms and of commerce, and the channel by which 
the elements of culture were transmitted from one 
people to another. As the world of ancient civili- 
zation expanded, its activities radiated from this 
centre; and during the Middle Ages the life of 
Europe and western Asia was still grouped about 
the Mediterranean. Consequently, of all the changes 
which mark the transition from ancient and 
mediaeval to modern history, none is so profound 
as that which has regrouped human life about the 
Atlantic as a new and grander central sea. 

The initial steps in this great change must be 
indicated briefly before the main story is taken 



up. 1 Prior to the invention of the mariner's compass, 
geographical discovery did not advance beyond the 
range of land travel and of coasting voyages. The 
nearest approach to the unlocking of the secrets 
of the sea of darkness that was made without the 
guiding needle was accomplished by the fearless 
sailors of the North, who found Iceland in 867, 
colonized Greenland in 985,* and reached the shores 
later to be known as America, at a time when 
western Europe had hardly begun to recover what 
had been lost by the collapse of the Roman Empire 
and the decay of ancient knowledge. 

Yet the distance was so great, the voyage so 
precarious, and the returns so slight that these 
ventures were discontinued; and northern enter- 
prise remained content with the establishment of 
scattered settlements on the western shores of 
Greenland, which for three centuries were the re- 
mote outposts of Christendom in the west, obscure 
precursors of the future expansion of Europe and of 
Christianity. 3 

Of more consequence were the later ventures in the 
south, which, beginning with the isolated attempt 
of the Vivaldi brothers, of Genoa, in 1291,* to reach 

1 Cf. Cheyney, European Background of American History 
(American Nation, I.). 

3 Errera, L' Epoca delle Grandi Scoperte Geografiche, 360. 

1 The best account of the Norse voyages is to be found in 
J. Fischer, The Discoveries of the Norsemen in America. 

4 Pertz, Der Aelteste Versuch zur Entdeckung des Seeweges nach 
Ostindien im Jahre 1291, p. 10; in English in Major, The Life of 
Prince Henry the Navigator, 99, 100. 


India by sailing round Africa, were continued by 
other stray Italian voyages to the African islands; 
they culminate in the fifteenth century in the 
systematic promotion of geographical discovery 
by the Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator. 
His career and its results, the indispensable prep- 
aration in Europe for the discovery of the New 
World, naturally belong to the opening volume of 
this series. All that can be done here is to em- 
phasize the importance for American history of 
creating a body of fearless ocean navigators; of 
breaking down the old imaginary barrier of a 
flaming zone in the tropics; of setting in train a 
range of activities which in little more than a cen- 
tury revealed a new world, encompassed the globe, 
and opened to Europe not only a broad field for 
its expanding energies, but also a new and more 
spacious home for its people. 1 

Near the end of Prince Henry's life the results at- 
tained under his leadership were incorporated 
in a map by the Venetian geographer, Friar Mauro, 
which records, in the part devoted to Asia, all the 
additions made to geographical knowledge by 
Marco Polo, John of Pian de Carpine, William of 
Rubruk, and other mediaeval travellers. In addition, 
Friar Mauro, by a bold conjecture, relying upon the 
indications afforded by the voyages down the east 
and west coasts, depicted South Africa as circum- 
navigable, and confidently affirmed his belief that 

1 Cheyney, European Background, chap. iv. 


one could sail from the Atlantic to the Indian 
Ocean. 1 

After the death of Prince Henry, his nephew, 
Alfonso V., prosecuted the work of exploration only 
intermittently, yet with some significant results. 
His reign is signalized by the first project of ex- 
ploring the Atlantic to the west. Alfonso V., in 
January, 1474, granted to Fernam Tellez, who 
had rendered distinguished services in the African 
voyages, any islands he might discover in the ocean 
sea not in the region of Guinea. 2 Not quite two 
years later this privilege was extended to cover 
inhabited as well as uninhabited islands, and the 
Seven Cities are mentioned by name as the object 
of his explorations. On the map of Graciosus 
Benincasa, I482, 3 the island of Antilia, with the 
names of the Seven Cities inscribed, is placed about 
as far west of the Madeiras as they are distant from 
Spain. Of the results of Tellez' s efforts nothing 
is known. The positive achievement of Alfonso's 
reign was the actual crossing of the equator, demon- 
strating that the torrid zone was not uninhabitable 
or uninhabited. 

Alfonso's successor, John II., took up with en- 
ergy the work of Prince Henry. During his brief 
reign of fourteen years (1481-1495) the western 

1 Zurla, // Mappamondo di Fra Mauro, 63; Errera, L'Epoca 
delle Grandi Scoperte Geografiche, 200; see map, p. 14. 

2 Ramos-Coelho, Alguns Documentos, 38, 41. 
8 Kretschmer, Atlas, plate 4. 


coast of Africa was explored, until in 1487 Bartholo- 
mew Diaz rounded the Cape of Storms, renamed by 
the king Good Hope. Owing in part to ill health, 
King John made no further effort in that direction. 
To the possibilities in the west he had not been in- 
different, although he rejected the proposals of 
Columbus, for in 1486 he granted to Ferdinand 
Dulmo, a captain of the island of Terceira, in the 
Azores, any island or islands or main - land that he 
might discover in the Atlantic. Dulmo sailed in 
1487, equipped for a voyage of six months, but he 
lighted neither upon the fabled Seven Cities nor the 
hidden islands of the west. 1 This good -fortune was 
not to crown a century of exploration by the hardy 
seamen of the western kingdom of the peninsula, 
but was to be won by a countryman of Doria and the 
Vivaldi brothers, whose first venture had anticipated 
Prince Henry by more than a century. 

1 Ramos-Coelho, Alguns Documentos, 58. 



OF the youth of the discoverer of America little 
is known. Although a voluminous writer of 
letters, in which he reviews his struggles, in none of 
those which are extant did he ever mention the 
date of his birth; nor are there the materials for 
an authentic story of his early days in the papers 
which his son Ferdinand and his friend Las Casas 
utilized for their accounts of his life prior to his 
arrival in Spain. 1 The self-made men of to-day 
often fondly dwell upon their humble origin, but 
Columbus in after-life drew a veil over the lowly 
circumstances of his birth; adopted the form Colon 2 
for his name, thereby making more plausible his 
claim of relationship with the French admirals 
Coulon and of descent from a Roman general 

1 Cf. Ruge, "Der Roman des Jugendlebens," in his Columbus, 
chap. i. 

1 Cf. Las Casas, Historic* de las Indias, I., 42-43; and Ferdinand 
Columbus, Historic, chap. i. Apparently the Italian Peter 
Martyr did not know Columbus's family name, as he Latinizes 
Colon as Colonus, not as Columbus. Oviedo always calls him 



Colon (Cilon according to the best texts of Tacitus) ; 
and transformed the simple weavers from whom 
he sprang into wealthy merchants and importers 
who subsequently suffered reverses. 

It is, however, the generally accepted view of 
modern scholars, based upon a careful collation of 
the notarial documents of Genoa relating to his 
family and to their business transactions, that 
he was born in Genoa about the year I446, 1 al- 
though as late a date as 1451 is supported by the 
fact that in 1470 his signature was appended to a 
legal document with the formal statement that he 
was upwards of nineteen years of age. 2 

His father, Domenico Colombo, was a woollen- 
weaver, and as late as 1472 Columbus signed a 
document in Genoa giving as kis occupation "laner- 
ius de Janua," wool- worker of Genoa. 3 His earliest 
apprenticeship to the sea may have begun some- 
what earlier, yet this signature precludes a long- 
previous seafaring life and militates as well against 
the earlier dates conjectured for his birth. A story 
told of his studies at the University of Pavia cannot 
be authenticated, and is rejected by most modern 
scholars ; yet in some way the wool-worker of Genoa 
in a few years mastered not only the whole art of 
navigation, but learned Latin and read voluminously 
in the geographical literature accessible in that 

1 Ruge, Columbus, 24. 

1 Vignaud, Real Birth-Date of Columbus, 74-101. f Ibid., 17. 


Among the authors that he studiously examined 
and" commented upon were the General History and 
Geography of ^neas Sylvius, 1 later Pope Pius 
II.; the Image of the World, 2 an encyclopaedic 
compilation by Pierre d'Ailly written early in the 
fifteenth century; and, most important of all, a 
Latin copy of the travels of Marco Polo. 3 His com- 
ments upon these works are written in a Latin 
somewhat careless of grammatical rules. In these 
marginal notes are revealed a curiosity about the 
Orient and a critical disposition to rectify the geo- 
graphical tradition by the light of his own experi- 
ence and knowledge. 

For example, when ^neas Sylvius records that 
the frigid and torrid zones are uninhabitable, 
Columbus notes that the contrary is proved in the 
south by the Portuguese, and in the north by the 
English and the North Germans who sail those 
regions. Again, when D'Ailly pronounces the torrid 
zone uninhabitable on account of the excessive heat, 
Columbus notes in the margin, "It is not unin- 
habitable, because the Portuguese sail through it; 
in fact, it is teeming with people, and near the 
equator is his Serene Highness the King of Portugal's 
castle of Mine, which we have seen/' Of all the 
statements in Pierre d'Ailly none impressed Colum- 

1 Historic, Rerum Ubique Gestarum (Venice, 1477). 

8 Imago Mundi, printed between 1480 and 1483; Lollis, 
Vita di CristoforO Colombo, 63. 

'Published at Antwerp or Gouda circa 1485; Thacher, 
Columbus, III., 462. 


bus more profoundly than the quotation from 
Aristotle that "between the end of Spain and the 
beginning of India the sea was small and naviga- 
ble in a few days." Again, the assertion of the 
apocryphal book of Esdras that the earth is six 
parts land and that only the seventh part is water, 
seemed so striking that Columbus notes the opin- 
ion of Ambrose and Augustine that Esdras was a 
prophet. 1 

In the case of no navigator of that age or earlier 
is there such impressive evidence of protracted study 
of all available sources of information in regard to 
any specific problem of geographical exploration. 
In addition to this investigation of literary sources, 
Columbus carefully noted all the indications which 
he observed or which were brought to his attention, 
pointing to the existence of islands to the west of the 
Azores, Canaries, and other groups already known. 
Reported voyages of exploration were also carefully 
recorded. This preparatory work was done while 
he was living in Portugal, whither he had gone early 
in his experience as a sailor. There he married 
Felipa Moniz, a connection of Bartholomew Peres- 
trello, one of Prince Henry's navigators. During 
a part of his residence in Portugal he lived for a time 
in the island of Porto Santo ; and at other times he 
sailed on the Portuguese ships to Guinea and to the 
north, certainly as far as the British Isles. 2 

1 Raccolta Colombiana, pt. i., vol. II., 291. 
1 Ibid., pt. ii., vol. II., marginal note No. 10. 


In such an environment a mind so boldly imagina- 
tive, at once so practical and so visionary, could not 
fail to be incited to independent activity in this 
stirring field of ever widening knowledge. It is 
quite impossible, however, to fix with certainty the 
date when, reaching beyond projects of western 
exploration, his mind grasped the great design of 
going to the East Indies by sailing west. According 
to the substantially identical narratives of Las 
Casas and of Ferdinand Columbus, the suggestion 
of this idea was derived from the letters of the 
Florentine physician and astronomer, Paolo del 
Pozzo Toscanelli, which they reproduce and of 
which they were the sole sources until 1871, when 
Harrisse identified the Latin original of the first 
Toscanelli letter. 1 

From the first of these documents, written in June, 
1474, we learn that Toscanelli's friend, Fernam 
Martins, living in Lisbon and interested in the 
Portuguese efforts to reach the Indies by way of 
Africa, had brought before King Alfonso the opinion 
he had heard Toscanelli express that it would be a 
much shorter way to the Indies to sail due west. 
The king then desired to hear from Toscanelli the 
reasons for such a view. The astronomer's reply 
contained in the first letter could have afforded 
little assurance to Alfonso, for there is no reasoned 
argument in it, but merely a series of assertions un- 

1 See Vignattd, Toscanelli and Columbus, 9-13, for the story of 
the discovery. 


supported by evidence, followed by an alluring 
description of the wealth of the Orient derived from 
Marco Polo. The text was accompanied by a chart 
divided into equal spaces which depicted the At- 
lantic as bounded on the west by the coast of Asia. 
This map is no longer extant, and almost all re- 
productions of it are merely reproductions of the 
Atlantic Ocean side of Behaim's globe, 1492, re- 
duced to what is supposed to be the projection 
devised by Toscanelli. 

This letter, it is supposed, was brought to the notice 
of Columbus some years later and suggested to him 
the realization of the project. He then wrote to 
Toscanelli of his desire to go to the land of spices, and 
received in reply a copy of the letter to Martins and 
a chart similar to the one sent with the first letter. 
Somewhat later Toscanelli wrote again to Columbus 
in reply to his letters, but without conveying any 
further information as to how to make the voyage. 

In recent years the authenticity of this correspond- 
ence has been challenged, and the effort has been 
made to prove that the letters are a subsequent forg- 
ery designed to give to Columbus' s voyage the charac- 
ter of a reasoned scientific experiment and the dignity 
of the patronage of a renowned scholar. 1 As yet the 
critical attack on these documents has won little 
assent among scholars. This, however, at least may 
be said with confidence, that, admitting the genuine- 
ness of Toscanelli's letter to Martins, it gave Colum- 

1 Vignaud, Toscanelli and Columbus, passim. 



? 4>ji,*w*3M 

I Ai*i^ 



This map is oriented inversely, and is consequently upside down It is adapted from 

C. R. Markham, Christopher Columbus 


bus no information about the Orient or the distance 
across the Atlantic that is not more fully given in 
the passages in Pierre d'Ailly and Marco Polo that 
he annotated in the margin or copied. So far as 
making out a plausible case for seeking the east by 
the west is concerned, Columbus accumulated in 
the marked passages of his own books a far more 
convincing body of facts than anything in Tosca- 
nelli' s letters. The most, then, that in any case can 
be attributed to Toscanelli is the direction of his 
mind to the problem, and not the furnishing of evi- 
dence or facts otherwise inaccessible. So far as can be 
determined by internal evidence, the date of the cor- 
respondence is to be placed between 1479 and 1482. l 
The extant archives of Portugal are equally desti- 
tute of references to Toscanelli and to Columbus, 
and for our knowledge of Columbus's attempt to 
secure the support of King John of Portugal in 
making his great experiment we are dependent upon 
the narrative of the Portuguese historian, Barros, 
whose work, though written two generations later, 
was in general based upon contemporary material. 
According to Barros, Christovao Colom, a Genoese 
by birth, an experienced and eloquent man, a good 
Latin scholar, 2 but very boastful, had convinced him- 
self by his studies and by his reading of Marco Polo 

1 Vignaud, Toscanelli and Columbus, 32-35. 

2 Harrisse, Christoplie Colomb, I., 84, thinks Barros borrowed 
this personal description from Oviedo's "bien hablado, cauto 
6 de gran ingenio, 6 gentil latino." 


that it would be practicable to reach the island of 
Cipango and other unknown lands by sailing west. 
He therefore appealed to King John for some ships 
that he might seek for Cipango in the western ocean. 
The king saw, however, that Colom was a great 
talker and boastful of his abilities and very visionary 
with his island of Cipango, and he placed little con- 
fidence in him. Yet, on account of his urgency, 
he referred him to the bishop of Ceuta and two 
physicians, expert cosmographers, who regarded his 
words as empty talk because it all rested on fancy 
and description of Marco Polo's Cipango. 1 

Columbus left Portugal for Spain in 1484 in se- 
crecy and haste and there persistently advocated his 
project for seven years. During this period of futile 
effort, fearing for the outcome, he sent his brother 
Bartholomew to England to enlist the interest and 
assistance of King Henry VII. Of Bartholomew's 
activities there no local record remains ; but accord- 
ing to the assertion of Las Casas and Ferdinand he 
succeeded in securing promises from Henry, and was 
returning to Spain to inform Christopher, when he 
was told in Paris that his brother had discovered 
some great lands which were called the Indies. 2 

1 Barros, Da Asia, dec. I., liv. III., chap, ix.; Feast's Barros, 

* Ferdinand Columbus, Historie, chap, ix.; Las Casas, Historia 
de las Indias, II., 78, 79. Oviedo, Historia General, I., 19, 
places the proposition to King Henry VII. before that made to 
the king of Portugal and says it was rejected. See also Harrisse, 
Christophe Colomb, II., 193, 194. 


Of Columbus's occupations during these weary 
years we know little, but it is probable that in them 
he did much of the careful reading of which the mar- 
ginal notes in his books bear testimony; for in his 
letter to the king and queen recounting his third 
voyage he says: " I gave to the subject six or seven 
years of great anxiety. At the same time I thought 
it desirable to bring to bear upon the subject the 
sayings and opinions of those who have written upon 
the geography of the world. " * 

Finally, through the powerful assistance of a 
former confessor of the queen, Father Juan Perez, 
and of Luis de Santangel, the treasurer of Aragon, 
Isabella decided to make the venture, and Columbus 
was hastily recalled just as he was leaving Spain for 
France. 2 

It is so frequently asserted that Columbus's ex- 
clusive purpose was to reach the East Indies by 
sailing west that it will not be out of place to indi- 
cate that he counted upon discovering islands and 
possibly main-land, which, though perhaps connected 
with the Asiatic continent, were not the wealthy and 
civilized countries of Cipango and of the Great 
Khan. In the contract drawn up April 17, 1492, 
Columbus demanded that in return for what he 
should discover in the Ocean Sea he should be made 
admiral of all those islands and main-lands which 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 109.- 

2 Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, L, 241, 245; Lollis, Vita 
di Cristoforo Colombo, 105, 108. 


should be discovered or acquired through his agency, 
with all the prerogatives belonging to the dignity 
of admiral of Castile ; that he should be made vice- 
roy and governor - general of all the said islands 
and main-lands; and that from all the trade with- 
in the limits of the said admiralship he should 
receive a royalty of ten per cent, of all the net 
proceeds. 1 

It is not proposed here that Columbus should be 
invested with the kingdom of the Great Khan or 
Cipango, which were known and which were his 
proposed destination ; but rather with such unknown 
regions as he should discover in the ocean in the 
course of his voyage. Similarly, Columbus in the 
opening pages of his journal describes his enterprise 
as an embassy to see the countries of India, " to see 
the said princes, and the cities and lands, and their 
disposition, with a view that they might be con- 
verted to our holy faith. . . . For this they [the Cath- 
olic sovereigns] . . . ennobled me, so that hence- 
forth I should be called Don, and should be chief 
admiral of the Ocean Sea, perpetual viceroy, and 
governor of all the islands and continents that I 
should discover and gain in the Ocean Sea." 3 

The son of the humble woollen-weaver of Genoa 
has gone far in twenty years. He is now a noble 
and a high official in an ancient monarchy, and in- 
trusted with a unique mission. Yet all depends 

1 Navarrete, Coleccion de los Viages, II. , 9. 
'Markham, Journal of Columbus, 17. 


upon the chances of the voyage whether these 
honors shall fade away in the mists of the Sea of 
Darkness, leaving the mere shadow of a name, like 
Ugolino de Vivaldi, in some such record as this: 
" Christopher Colonus, a Ligurian, proposed to pass 
over to the Indies by way of the west. After he 
left the Canary Islands no news was heard of him;" * 
or whether his name shall have eternal celebrity as 
the discoverer of the New World. No man ever 
faced chances of fortune so extreme. On the other 
hand, no sovereign ever secured imperial dominion 
at so slight a sacrifice as Isabella of Castile. Her 
venture was small a few thousand dollars and 
presumably empty honors to an importunate vision- 
ary whose utterances seemed mere "fables." 

1 A combination of Peter Martyr's first mention of Columbus 
with what Jacobus Doria reported of the attempt of Vivaldi. 
Pertz, Der Aelteste Versuch zur Entdeckung des Seeweges, 10. 




IN the early dawn of August, 1492, the people 
of the little town of Palos, in western Andalusia, 
must have watched with strange feelings the de- 
parture of three small ships for unknown waters. 
Less than three months had elapsed since the royal 
order came to provide two vessels for twelve months, 
and wages for the crews for four months, as a penalty 
for some offence against the crown. 1 At first the 
hardy sailors of Palos shrank from the mysterious 
voyage, and only the criminals in the jail were 
ready for the venture, relying on the promise that 
all who volunteered were to be exempt from any 
criminal prosecution until two months after their 
return. 2 But, thanks to the powerful influence of 
the Pinzon family, there was no need to depend upon 
the jail-birds, and capable crews were secured from 
Palos and the surrounding towns. 3 
The full list of sailors and landsmen was ninety, 

1 Navarrete, Wages, II., 12. * Ibid., II., 15; III., 578. 

* Ibid., IIL. 578; Las Casas, Historia, I., 260. 



according to Las Casas, and one hundred and 
twenty, according to Oviedo. 1 Among them were 
the three Pinzon brothers, Juan de la Cosa, the 
maker of the famous map of 1500, and Luis de 
Torres, a converted Jew, who was taken as an 
interpreter by reason of his knowledge of Arabic. 
Besides the Spaniards there were two representatives 
of that race which was later in no small measure 
to enter into the inheritance of Spain in the New 
World. William Ires [Harris?] of Galway, Ireland, 
and Tallarte de Lajes [Allard?]. 2 Neither returned 
from the voyage. It is not a little strange, in view 
of the religious spirit of the age and of the enter- 
prise, that no priest joined the company. 

Of the three vessels only the Santa Maria was 
fully decked and large enough to be styled a ship 
(nao). Her tonnage has been variously estimated 
at one hundred tons, 8 and at two hundred and 
eighty tons. 4 The other two, the Pinta and the 
Nina, of the low -built, swifter type called car- 
avels, are supposed to have measured fifty and 
forty; or one hundred and forty and one hundred 

The admiral directed his course towards the Ca- 
naries, Spain's only pre-Columbian colonial depend- 
ency, and to-day almost the only remnant of her 
oceanic empire. There he tarried for about a month 

1 Las Casas, Historia, I., 260; Oviedo, Historia General, I., aa. 

1 Markham, Life of Columbus, 69. 

1 Ibid., 66. 4 Ruge, Columbus, 102. 


refitting the Pinta. The final start was made on 
Thursday, September 6. 

It is the singular good-fortune of posterity to 
possess a detailed account of this momentous 
voyage from the hand of the protagonist in the 
drama. No other in the history of the world was 
more important, and of no voyage earlier than or 
during the age of discoveries have we so full and so 
trustworthy a narrative. In the form in which it 
has come down to us it is an abridgment by Las 
Casas, closely following the text of the original daily 
record prepared for the king and queen, and fre- 
quently preserving long passages in the exact words 
of the author. In its pages we are admitted into 
the very presence of the admiral to share his thoughts 
and impressions as the strange panorama of his 
experiences unfolded before him. 

The voyage was not imperilled by storms, yet as 
the waves rolled by day after day, as the little 
vessels followed the setting sun, the strain proved 
too great for the common minds of the crew. First 
there was secret grumbling, then plotting to put the 
admiral out of the way or to throw him overboard. 1 
At last, on the tenth day of October, they could 
stand it no longer; but the admiral soothed them 
and reminded them of the advantages which would 
come from success; " and he added that it was use- 
less to complain, as he had come to go to the Indies 

1 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis (ed. 1574). 3; in English, 

in Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 168. 


and he would keep on till he found them with the 
aid of our Lord." 

Fortunately, the strain was soon relaxed. The 
next evening a flickering light was observed, and on 
Friday they found themselves near a small coral 
island in the Bahamas, called by the natives 
Guanahani, which Columbus renamed San Salvador 
(Holy Saviour), and which is probably Watling 
Island. 1 That he had reached the Indies, Columbus 
had no doubt, and in his first mention of the natives 
he calls them " Indians," 2 thus attaching the name 
forever to the aborigines of the New World. 

When on October 21 he heard of Cuba for the 
first time, he believed it to be Cipango, and planned 
to go on " to the main-land and to the city of Guisay, 8 
and to give the letters of your highness to the 
Gran Can." This belief soon became a fixed idea, 
immovable in face of the most telling evidence. 
The very qualities that had insured Columbus* s suc- 
cess contributed to his failure to realize just what 
he had achieved. Gazing at the naked Indians 
paddling their canoes, he could write, " It is certain 
that this is the main-land, and that I am in front of 
Zayto and Guinsay, a hundred leagues a little more 
or less distant the one from the other" 4 Guin- 
say with its Oriental splendor and twelve thousand 

1 On the landfall, sec Markham, Life of Columbus, 89-107. 

* Markham, Journal of Columbus, October 12. 

1 Kinsai or Quinsai in Marco Polo. 

4 Markham, Journal of Columbus, 65 (November i). 


stone bridges, 1 and Zaitun with its hundred pepper 
ships a year! 2 

Not less ready was he to read into the vague 
gestures and signs of the natives more grotesque 
recollections of his reading of Marco Polo. As the 
Venetian traveller reported that the island of 
Lambri was inhabited by men with tails, so Colum- 
bus understands the Indians to tell him of the prov- 
ince of Avan, in Cuba, whose "inhabitants are born 
with tails. " 8 Again he understands that the island 
of Matinino is "entirely peopled by women, without 
men," 4 for had he not read in Marco Polo of the 
two islands of Masculia and Femenina? 5 Why, too, 
does he report that he found no people of "mon- 
strous appearance," but for the reason that he had 
read in Pierre d'Ailly that in the ends of the earth 
were "monsters of such a horrid aspect that it were 
hard to say whether they were men or beasts?"* 

From the smaller Bahamas his course was directed 
to Cuba, the eastern third of whose northern shore 
he explored. Believing that he was upon main-land 
not far from the realm of the Great Khan, on 
November 2 he despatched his Jewish interpreter, 
Luis de Torres, to that monarch. Instead of the 
Oriental prince they found a village of naked Indians. 

1 Noted by Columbus on the margin of his copy of Marco Polo. 
Raccolta Colombtana, pt. i., vol. II., 462. 
1 Cf . Toscanelli's letter to Fernam Martins. 
1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 10. 
4 Markham, Journal of Columbus, January 15. 
1 Raccolta Colombiana, pt. i., vol. II., 468. ' Ibid., 380. 


It was on this journey, however, that Europeans 
first saw men drawing the smoke from the leaves 
of a plant which were rolled in the form of a tube 
and lighted at one end. These tubes they learned 
were called tobaccos. 1 

From Cuba, Columbus went to Hayti, which from 
the similarity of its first appearance to that of 
Spain he named La Isla Espanola, 2 "the Spanish 
Island, " whence comes the English Hispaniola. 
There, on Christmas Day, the Santa Maria ran 
aground and became a total wreck. All the cargo 
and provisions were saved through the ready help 
and kindly honesty of the Indians. In consequence 
of this disaster, and to prepare a way for Spanish 
colonization by learning the native language and by 
acquiring a more complete knowledge of the re- 
sources of the island, Columbus decided to leave 
such as were willing to stay till his return. 8 

Every provision was made for a safe sojourn and 
the successful establishment of the first white set- 
tlement in the New World. He left bread and wine 
for a year, seed for sowing, tools, and amis. Among 
the forty-four who remained were skilled artisans, a 
good gunner, a physician, and a tailor. 4 Las Casas 
reports for us, presumably from the unabridged 
journal, the solemn injunctions which Columbus 

1 Markham, Journal of Columbus, October 15; Las Casas, His- 
toria, I., 322, translated in Thacher, Columbus, I., 561. 

'Markham, Journal of Columbus, December 9; cf. Thacher, 
Columbus, I., 586. 8 Las Casas, Historia, I., 406. 

4 Markham, Journal of Columbus, January a. 


bestowed upon them before he left: that they 
should obey their captain implicitly, cultivate 
friendly relations with the natives, and scrupulously 
avoid injuring man or woman, and that they should 
keep together. 1 

The return was far from the peaceful progress of 
the outward voyage, for two violent storms were 
encountered, one on February 14, just before reach- 
ing the Azores, and the other the night of March 3 
as they approached the coast of Portugal. They 
were both safely weathered, however, and on March 
4, 1493, Columbus dropped anchor within the mouth 
of the river Tagus. 

For half a century from time to time little fleets 
had started southward in the hope of eventually 
reaching the Indies. Four years before Columbus's 
voyage Africa had been rounded, and the fruition 
of so many efforts seemed within reach. Now the 
news spread that the stranger in the caravel had 
returned from "the Indies/' and soon the " crowd 
that swarmed to see the Indians and to hear the 
story of the voyage overran the little vessel; nor 
could the surrounding water be seen, so full was it of 
the boats and skiffs of the Portuguese/' 2 

Four days later, on March 8, the admiral re- 
ceived a letter from the king of Portugal, inviting 
him to visit him at Valparaiso, some thirty miles 

1 Las Casas, Historia, I., 415, translated in Thacher, I., 632. 
'Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 122 (ed. 1867), in English 
in Pinkerton's Voyages, XII., 52. 


from Lisbon. About nine years earlier the two 
had met, when the petition of the visionary sailor 
was rejected as mere prattle of the island of Cipango, 
an echo of Marco Polo. 1 Now t the admiral of the 
Ocean Sea proudly announces that he has returned 
from the discovery of the islands of Cipango and 
of Antilia, and shows his Indians, gold, and other 
trophies, and reminds King John of his failure to 
accept the opportunity offered to him. In the 
king's opinion, however, the discoveries were em- 
braced in his dominion of Guinea. The contem- 
porary chronicler, Ruy de Pina, who describes the 
interview, says that the said admiral went beyond 
the bounds of truth, and made out the affair as re- 
gards gold and silver and riches much greater than it 
was. By-standing courtiers suggested that the in- 
truder could be provoked into a quarrel and then 
killed without any suspicion of connivance on the 
part of the king. But the king, a God-fearing prince, 
forbade it, and showed honor to the admiral. 2 

On Friday, in the early afternoon of March 15, 
1493, Columbus cast anchor in the harbor of Palos. 
The joy and pride of the villagers may be imagined. 
The whole population turned out to receive Colum- 
bus with a procession and to give " thanks to our 
Lord for so great favor and victory." 3 

1 See above, p. 16. 

a Ruy de Pina, Chronica del Rey D. Jodo II. ; Collecf&o de 
Livros Ined., II., 178; translated in Prescott's Ferdinand and 
Isabella, II., 161, n. 
'Ferdinand Columbus, Historie, 124. 


The news of Columbus's voyage was disseminated 
rapidly, first through private correspondence, and 
later through the publication of his own narrative, 
addressed in the form of letters to Luis de Santangel 
and to Gabriel Sanchez. The most important ac- 
counts in private correspondence, although not the 
earliest, are found in the letters of Peter Martyr of 
Anghiera, an Italian resident at the court of Spain, 
later the author of the first history of America. 
On May 14 he wrote to Count Giovanni Borromeo 
from Barcelona, where Columbus had appeared be- 
fore the king and queen a month previous: " A few 
days since, one Christopher Colon, a Genoese, re- 
turned from the antipodes in the west. From my 
kings he had obtained three ships to visit this prov- 
ince, with some difficulty, indeed, for what he said 
was esteemed fables." l 

The knowledge. which the world at large obtained 
of the discovery was derived from the various edi- 
tions of Columbus's own letter inscribed to Gabriel 
Sanchez, which is merely a duplicate of the letter to 
Luis de Santangel. The Sanchez letter was trans- 
lated into Latin in April, 1493, an d ^ n that form it 
was reprinted in different countries and passed 
through nine editions within a year. There were, 
besides, two Spanish editions of the Santangel letter, 
and three editions of the Sanchez letter in Italian. 2 
Two of these were a quaint poetical rendering by 

1 Letter no. 131, in Thacher, Columbus, I., 54. 
3 Thacher, Columbus, II., 72. 


the Florentine poet Giuliano Dati. 1 The earliest 
titles of the Latin letter read : " Letter of Christopher 
Colom ; to whom our age owes much ; on the islands 
of India lately found beyond the Ganges/ 1 2 

The earliest European potentate to be informed 
of the discoveries was naturally the head of the 
church. Ferdinand and Isabella seem to have lost 
no time in announcing to Pope Alexander VI., him- 
self a Spaniard, that some time since they had pur- 
posed to explore and discover islands and remote 
and unknown main-lands, but had been detained by 
the war in Granada ; that having successfully com- 
pleted that conquest, they had despatched Chris- 
topher Colon, at much labor and expense, to make 
search for such lands; and that with God's help, by 
sailing in the west towards the Indians, 3 he had 
discovered some very remote islands not hitherto 
found; that gold, silver, and spices were produced 
in these islands, and that their inhabitants seemed 
fitted for Christianity. 4 

Two things in this announcement attract our at- 
tention: the assertion that the monarchs had planned 
such an exploration before 1492; and that the royal 
purposes of Columbus's voyage were as stated in 
their patent, discovery, and the extension of the 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, pp. xc. cviii. 

1 Fac-simile in Thacher, Columbus, II., 48. 

8 "Versus Indos," in bull of May 3, omitted in bull of May 4. 

4 Text of bull of May 4 and Eden's translation in Fiske, Dis- 
covery of America, II., 580 ff. ; modern translation of both bulls in 
Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands, I. 


Christian religion, and not a new route to the In- 
dies. Apparently Ferdinand and Isabella were not 
altogether convinced that Columbus had reached the 
Indies of Marco Polo, and make no point of that in 
their communication. If this be true, they were not 
alone in such scepticism, for Peter Martyr enter- 
tained strong doubts whether Columbus had reached 
the Orient; for on October i, 1493, after having had 
abundant opportunity to talk with Columbus, he 
wrote the archbishop of Braga that Columbus be- 
lieved that he had reached the Indies ; for himself he 
would not absolutely deny this, but he believed that 
the size of the globe seemed to suggest otherwise. 1 
Similarly, John II. of Portugal believed that Colum- 
bus's voyage had been really in western waters, in 
the region covered by his dominion of Guinea. 

Since the Portuguese lordship of Guinea rested 
upon a long series of discoveries, reinforced by 
papal bulls granting to the king of Portugal all that 
had been or should be discovered south of Cape 
Bojador towards Guinea and the southern shores; 
and since Spain had by the treaty of 1480 conceded 
to Portugal all the islands discovered or to be 
discovered from the Canaries southward in the 
region off Guinea, it was evident that, unless a 
compromise could be effected, some clash must 
arise between the sovereigns of Spain and Portugal 
over these new lands. It was for this reason that 
the matter was brought so promptly to the attention 

1 Thachcr, Columbus, I., 59. 


of the pope, and that he was requested to issue a 
bull declaring the rights of Spain. 1 

For such a function of umpire the pope from his 
international position was well fitted. Alexander 
responded with equal promptness, and in his famous 
bulls of May 3 and 4 he recognized the existing 
rights of Portugal and established those of Spain, 
by drawing an imaginary line from north to south, 
one hundred leagues west of the Azores and Cape 
Verd Islands. East of this line Portugal was to 
retain the rights already assigned to her ; and south 
and west of it the Spanish monarchs were to have 
the same exclusive rights of exploration, trade, and 
colonization over all the lands that should be dis- 
covered that were not occupied by any Christian 
prince. This award delimited, in modern phrase, 
two spheres of influence. It did not divide the 
world between Spain and Portugal, but rather 
marked out the regions in which the right of dis- 
covery would give unquestioned and final title. 

Still the phrasing was not altogether satisfactory 
to Ferdinand and Isabella, apparently for the reason, 
possibly urged by Columbus, that nothing was said 
of the Indies. Hence, in September, 1493, Alexander 
issued another bull granting the Spanish monarchs 
full rights to hold such lands as they should dis- 
cover to the south and west " and eastern regions 
and to India. " Thus if the Spaniards by going west 
should eventually reach the East Indies, their right, 

1 Navarrete, V^ages, II., 60, 77, 90. 


by prior discovery and occupation, would hold 
against the Portuguese, who might feel that India 
was preempted to them by the earlier bulls. King 
John was not satisfied with the location of the 
demarcation line, 1 and he was still less satisfied 
with this amplification of the Spanish rights. 

In consequence it was agreed by the treaty of 
Tordesillas, between Spain and Portugal, June 7, 
1494, that the line of demarcation should be drawn 
three hundred and seventy leagues west of the 
Cape Verd Islands, or at a distance about half-way 
between the Cape Verd Islands and the new dis- 
coveries. 2 This shifting of the line to the west later 
secured Portugal's title to Brazil, and, after the 
immense distance of the Spice Islands beyond 
India was discovered, encouraged Spain to believe 
that these islands really fell within her demarcation. 

1 Navarrete, Viages, II., 96. 

1 Translations of the bull of September 25 and of the treaty 
of Tordesillas are given in Blair and Robertson, The Philippine 
Islands, I. Thacher gives fac-similes and translations of the 
bulls, Columbus, II., 124 ff., and a translation of the treaty, 
175 ff- 



FOR Columbus the spring and summer of 1493 
were the happiest period of his life. The scanty 
records of the time depict him as enjoying the 
admiration of the crowd and the grateful apprecia- 
tion of his sovereign. Spain had never seen such 
a cavalcade as slowly wended its way from Seville 
to Barcelona in early April, 1493. "From all the 
neighboring places the people gathered along the 
highway to see him and the Indians and the other 
things so novel that he brought with him." 1 He 
was met by the dignitaries of Barcelona and the 
court and escorted to the place where the royal 
pair awaited him with all majesty and grandeur, 
on a richly decorated seat under a canopy of cloth 
of gold. And when he went to kiss their hands they 
rose as to a great lord and made him sit beside them, 
thus bestowing the highest distinction that could 
be shown to a subject in Spain. 2 Later he was 

Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 125. 

1 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 10; Ferdinand Columbus, 
Historic, 125. 



accorded a coat of arms, which in after years bore 
the legend: 

41 For Castile and Leon 
Colon found a New World." l 

These summer months, however, were not mere 
holiday for the admiral, for preparations went on 
apace for his return to the Indies, with a colony and 
for further explorations. During the last week of 
May, Ferdinand and Isabella issued no less than 
twenty-five executive orders, commissions, and proc- 
lamations relating to the equipment of the expe- 
dition which, it was announced as early as May 
23, 1493, was to b e despatched to "the Indies/' 2 
the name henceforth adopted in Spain for the New 
World. Fifteen thousand ducats were appropriated 
for the expenses, or about five times the cost of the 
first voyage. Authority was conferred upon Colum- 
bus and Juan de Fonseca, archdeacon of Seville, to 
take charge of the preparations, and Columbus was 
appointed captain - general of the fleet. Finally 
everything was ready and the fleet set sail September 

*5 I 493- 
These seventeen ships were freighted with the 

seeds of European life. Among the fifteen hundred 
men on board were the returning converted Indians, 
soldiers, missionaries, artisans of all kinds, field 
laborers, knights, and young courtiers. All but 

1 Oviedo, Historia General, I., 31. 
Navarrete, Viages, II., 41. 


about two hundred volunteers were under pay. 1 
Besides a few horses for cavalry service, there were 
carried for breeding purposes mares, sheep, heifers, 
and other animals. Vegetables, wheat, barley, and 
other cereals were not forgotten, nor the vine and 
fruit trees. All kinds of tools, too, that would be 
needed in a colony were included. At the Canary 
Islands they added to their stock calves, she-goats, 
ewes, pigs, chickens, seeds of oranges, lemons, 
melons, and other garden-plants, and, most im- 
portant of all, sugar-cane. 2 It is not strange that 
no women were taken upon an expedition so 
hazardous and so military. Yet to their absence 
must be attributed some of the most serious causes 
for the subsequent troubles with the natives, and 
their presence would have lessened the terrible 
homesickness and have been a consolation in illness. 
Thus laden with the gifts of the Old to the New 
World, this fleet pursued its way across the Atlantic 
to lay the foundations of the Spanish colonial 
empire. November 3 they reached one of the 
smaller Antilles, which was named Dominica, as 
it was Sunday. Sailing from one island to another 
among them was Porto Rico it was the night of 
November 2 7 before they arrived at the site of the 
little garrison of Navidad. A salute from the 
ships' cannon was followed by an ominous silence. 

1 Columbus in the Torres Memorial, Major, Select Letters of 
Columbus, 100. 

3 Las Casas, Historia, I., 497, II., 3. 


About midnight a canoe approached Columbus's 
ship full of Indians crying out " Almirante! Almi- 
rante!" When the admiral appeared they came on 
board to say that some of the Christians had died of 
illness, and that others had gone into the country 
with their wives and some with many wives. The 
admiral felt they must all be dead. 1 The morning 
revealed a scene of complete desolation. Not a 
Spaniard had survived. 

For his new station Columbus tried to select a 
more favorable site, somewhat farther east, on the 
north coast of Hayti. Here all disembarked, and 
the foundations for a permanent settlement were 
laid in December, 1493. Everything seemed full of 
promise a fertile soil, good building-stone, clay for 
bricks and tiles. Columbus set his people at work 
with energy on the new town of Isabella. Streets 
and a plaza were laid out, and solid public buildings, 
ever a characteristic feature of the Spanish colonies, 
were planned an arsenal and storehouse, a church, 
a hospital, a fort, all built of stone. Private houses 
were of wood and straw. But the men, worn by the 
long and unaccustomed sea- voyage, especially the 
laborers, put to such heavy work in a strange 
climate, soon fell sick; even Columbus did not es- 
cape. For a time among all the hundreds of 
colonists there was hardly a well man. 2 

Early in January, 1494, two young cavaliers, one 
of them Alonso de Hojeda, a notable explorer and 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., u. * Ibid, t II., 21, 22. 


conquistador, led out reconnoitring parties to the 
reputed gold-bearing region of Cibao, in the interior. 
Their reports were glowing and stimulated Columbus 
to a more thorough exploration of the country. 1 
In the mean time, however, reinforcements and sup- 
plies were urgently needed ; and, consequently, about 
the middle of February Antonio de Torres was sent 
back to Spain with twelve ships. The memorial 
that Columbus despatched by him setting forth the 
needs of the new colony is devoid of visionary 
schemes; it shows to great advantage the practical 
side of Columbus's abilities, and forecasts some 
features of the later colonial system. 

The prevalent sickness he correctly attributed to 
the change of air and water and the lack of fresh 
meat; he emphasized the need of fresh provisions, 
wine, raisins, sugar, honey, rice, and medicines, 
clothes, shoes, and leather, more domestic animals 
for work and for breeding. Gloriously rich in some 
aspects of nature, the New World was notably poor 
in food plants and domesticable animals, those two 
indispensable aids to advancing culture. He pro- 
posed, when the supply- vessels should return, to 
send to Spain some of the cannibals men, women, 
and children to learn Spanish, so that communica- 
tion could be had with them, for their language 
was different from that of the Lucayans whom he 
had taken to Spain. Columbus reported hopefully 

1 Torres Memorial, Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 73, 74; 
Las Casas, Historia, II., 34 ff. 


in regard to gold and spices, but sent little of the 
precious metal. 1 

To bridge over the costly and unprofitable years 
of laying the foundations of his colony, in case there 
should not be much gold, Columbus proposed that 
their majesties should authorize contractors every 
year to bring over cattle and beasts of burden, for 
which they might be paid with slaves taken from 
among these cannibals, " who are a wild people fit for 
any work, well proportioned, and very intelligent, 
and who, when they have got rid of their cruel 
habits to which they have been accustomed, will be 
better than any other kind of slaves. " 2 The propo- 
sition gave pause to Ferdinand and Isabella, and 
they reserved it for further consideration. 

To characterize Columbus as ambitious to become 
a slave-driver, as a recent biographer has done, 8 re- 
veals a lack of the historical spirit. It is more rea- 
sonable to imagine him already haunted by the 
problem of keeping in progress the great movement 
he had started. Already may he have had a pre- 
monition of the angry cries of impoverished and 
starving Spaniards accusing his spurious Indies of 
being their ruin. 4 In any case, the suggestion pro- 
posed a means rather than an end, and a means 
sanctioned by the past, 5 however much to be 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 85. * Ibid., 88. 

1 Winsor, Columbus, 282. 4 See below, p. 51. 

1 The slave-trade had been the economic basis of the Portu- 
guese African voyages of exploration, although not their primary 
object. Cf. Cheyney, European Background, chap. iv. 


discredited in the future or questioned at the 

After Torres' departure, the first serious trouble 
in the colony arose during the illness of Columbus. 
Unexpected hardships, disease, and homesickness, 
in place of a holiday adventure, undermined both 
courage and discipline. Still worse, one of the 
gold assayers, Fernin Cedo, scouted the idea of 
there being much gold in the island. In this time 
of trial one of the royal officials, Bernal de Pisa, 
headed a plot to seize the remaining ships and make 
for Spain. Columbus acted with promptitude and 
resolution. Bernal was confined in one of the ships, 
to be sent to Spain with a statement of his offence. 1 
But even this exercise of authority galled the dis- 
contented colonists, and from their resentment Las 
Casas traces the beginning of Columbus's later 

When the admiral felt fully recovered he selected 
from the well and strong about four hundred men, 
who, in full martial array, with banners and trumpets 
to dazzle and impress the islanders, followed him, 
March 12, in a southerly direction towards Cibao. 
After passing the first ridge they beheld a mag- 
nificent plain, affording, according to Las Casas, one 
of the most splendid prospects in the whole world. 2 
About seventy miles south of Isabella, in the moun- 
tains of Cibao, nuggets were found and other indi- 
cations of gold. For the security of miners and 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 27. * Ibid., 29. 


prospectors, Columbus built a fort which he named 
St. Thomas, on account of the doubters, who there 
could see the precious metal with their eyes and 
handle it with their hands. It was garrisoned by 
Pedro Margarite and fifty-six men. 1 

Upon his return to Isabella the admiral found the 
settlers still more wasted, for the few who had es- 
caped illness or death were much reduced in strength, 
owing to the scarcity of provisions. As most of the 
laborers were disabled, Columbus ordered the gen- 
tlemen to take hold and work, under threat of severe 
penalty. To add the degradation of labor with their 
hands to their suffering was too much for the Spanish 
hidalgos, and Columbus never escaped from the 
resentment engendered at this time. 

Leaving the colony under a commission, Colum- 
bus, towards the end of April, undertook the ex- 
ploration of Cuba. Sailing along the southern 
shore, he diverged to the south and discovered 
Jamaica, May 14, 1494. The next month was spent 
in cautiously threading his way along the Cuban 
coast towards the west through a bewildering num- 
ber of islets. The vaguely understood signs of the 
natives were interpreted, now to indicate that Cuba 
was an island, and now the main-land. Its coast-line 
seemed interminable; and, provisions growing short, 
it was necessary to return, and apparently equally 
necessary to have some positive results to show for 
the exploration. So all the ship's officers and com- 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 35-39. 


mon sailors and the expert map-maker, Juan de la 
Cosa, on whose famous map, six years later, Cuba 
was plainly depicted as an island, were required to 
take solemn oath that they had no doubt that this 
land was main-land, the beginning of the Indies and 
the terminus that whosoever desired to come from 
Spain overland to these parts would reach. 1 

It is a strange irony of fate that two more days' 
sailing would have brought Columbus to the 
western end of Cuba and possibly have led to the 
immediate discovery of Yucatan, or Mexico. 2 His 
illusion, however, gave rise to the first project of 
going round the world, for his son Ferdinand writes 
in a passage almost certainly derived from Colum- 
bus' s journal of the second voyage, no longer ex- 
tant, " that if he had had abundance of provisions 
he would not have returned to Spain except by way 
of the East." 3 This is confirmed by Bernaldez, 
the curate of Los Palacios, who derived the account 
of this voyage from Columbus himself. One notes 
with interest, however, that the circuit of the globe 
was not to involve the circumnavigation of Africa, 
but a land journey from the Arabian gulf to the 
Mediterranean. 4 

1 Navarrete, Viages, II., 145. The affidavits are translated in 
Thacher, Columbus, II., 327. On this oath cf. Markham, 
Columbus, 166; Ruge, Columbus, 175; Lollis, Colombo, 235-237. 

3 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen , 200. 
8 Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 166. 

4 Bernaldez, Historia de los Reyes Catolicos, chap, cxxiii.; 
translated in Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, series VIII., 42. 


On the return the south shores of Jamaica and of 
Espanola were explored. Late in September, 1494, 
Columbus, worn out by labors and watchings, col- 
lapsed and remained insensible for a long time ; and 
five months passed before he was fully recovered. 1 

During his absence his brother Bartholomew 
arrived at Isabella, having been sent from Spain 
by the sovereigns upon his return from England. 
Bartholomew was a most energetic man, thorough- 
ly devoted to the interests of his brother, who im- 
mediately appointed him "adelantado of the In- 
dies/' that is, provincial military governor. Yet 
this appointment so natural under the circum- 
stances, did not prove an unmixed advantage. Bar- 
tholomew ruled with more severity than Christo- 
pher, and in the eyes of the proud Spaniards he was 
even more of a foreigner and an upstart. His rigor- 
ous discipline did much to create the subsequent im- 
pression that the admiral was cruel. 2 

That a strong hand was needed at the helm was 
only too evident. During the admiral's absence 
the native population had grown more and more 
apprehensive and restless. The hunger of the Span- 
iards seemed insatiable, 8 and in the gratification 
of their lust they respected neither the rights nor 
feelings of husbands and parents. Under the cir- 

1 Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 177. 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 80. 

1 Las Casas, with his usual exaggeration in numbers, says that 
"one Spaniard would eat more in a day than the whole house- 
hold of a native in a month," Historia, II., 73. 


cumstances these evils were inevitable, yet they 
nearly wrecked the colony. In addition, the of- 
ficials had proved false to their trust. Margarite 
deserted his post at St. Thomas, and with Friar Boil, 
accompanied by some priests and many others, took 
the ships that Bartholomew brought and went back 
to Spain, where they disparaged the Indies, declar- 
ing that there was no gold there nor any other 
thing of profit. 1 

With the recovery of Columbus began a period 
of open warfare with the various native kings, in 
which the clumsy fire-arms of the period and the 
cross-bows were frightfully effective. Even more 
terrible were the centaur-like monsters, the cavalry- 
men; and next the hounds that at the words "take 
him," would each kill so Las Casas reports a 
hundred Indians an hour. 2 These raids lasted nine 
or ten months, until the islanders were thoroughly 
terrorized and subjected to the payment of tribute. 
Those who lived near the mines must furnish a 
Flemish haw r ksbell (half to two-thirds of an ounce) 3 
full of gold every three months; while from those 
not near the mines was exacted an arroba (twenty- 
five pounds) of cotton. 

These burdens Las Casas pronounces excessive, 
and adds that in despair the Indians fled to the 
mountains, preferring to starve to death by re- 
nouncing all cultivation of the soil, if only they could 
bring famine upon the Spaniards. The friendly 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 75. ' Ibid., 96. Ibid., 103. 


cacique Guarionex offered to put an enormous tract 
of land under cultivation for growing grain if the 
admiral would only not demand gold, but Columbus 
needed gold to demonstrate that the colony would be 
profitable. When he found that the tribute was too 
high he commuted it to one-half, but even then it was 
beyond the power of many of the unfortunate na- 
tives. 1 In these three years of conquest a life-and- 
death struggle between the invaders and the natives 
the population of Espanola was supposed to have 
been reduced by at least two- thirds; such was the 
opinion of Las Casas and Ferdinand Columbus, and 
they no doubt represent the belief of the admiral. 2 

In March, 1496, Columbus having become con- 
vinced that the interests of the colony required his 
return to Spain, set sail with two caravels containing 
some two hundred and twenty homesick and en- 
feebled colonists and thirty Indians. His brother 
Bartholomew was left in authority at Espanola. 

When Columbus arrived in Spain, June, 1496, 
three years had passed since the triumphal progress 
from Seville to Barcelona. They had been years of 
no small achievement compared with the initial 
years of later English or French exploration and 
colonization ; but the results had been disappointing 
to the expectations aroused by the announcement 
that the Indies of Marco Polo had been reached and 
the doors opened to fabulous wealth. As a con- 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 103, 104. 

* Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 183; Las Casas, II., 106. 


sequence Columbus was thrown upon the defensive. 
He must vanquish his detractors and those who 
decried the vaunted Indies ; the popular imagination 
must again be kindled and the sovereigns allured 
to further ventures. 

Columbus assumed the garb of humility and 
religion, that of a Franciscan friar, presenting strik- 
ing contrast to the Indian captive prince Don 
Diego, with a gold chain about his neck weighing six 
pounds. Gold dust and nuggets, crowns, masks, and 
girdles, and specimens of Indian workmanship were 
laid before Ferdinand and Isabella. 1 These pict- 
uresque arguments, reinforced by Columbus' s per- 
suasive eloquence, restored his fortunes. Yet, un- 
fortunately for him, the foreign enterprises of the 
crown caused delays and diminished the f unds avail- 
able for the new colony ; and, unfortunately for the 
colony, Columbus succeeded in securing the reversal 
of measures taken for its advantage because they 
clashed with his monopoly rights. 

In particular, in April, 1495, the sovereigns 
adopted a plan of voluntary assisted emigration to 
Espanola, of free opportunity to any one to make 
explorations and to engage in trade, 2 a policy in 
marked contrast to that subsequently pursued. 
Promptly availing themselves of this opportunity, 
"different shipmasters set sail for different shores 

1 Bernaldez, Historia de los Reyes Catolicos, chap, cxxxi. 
1 Navarrete, Viages, II., 162; in English in Memorials of Col- 
umbus, 88. 


of the otner hemisphere/' 1 but these private vent- 
ures resulted in no new discoveries of which we 
have record. Such enterprises the admiral not un- 
naturally regarded as an infringement upon his 
rights, and he induced the king and queen to revoke 
the privilege. 

We cannot tell how the plan would have succeeded, 
but it is melancholy to observe to what extremities 
Columbus was reduced to get colonists beyond 
those numbered on the royal pay-list. In June, 
1497, a general order was issued to all the officers 
of justice in Spain authorizing the transportation 
to Espanola of criminals excepting heretics, trai- 
tors, counterfeiters, and sodomites in commutation 
of death or prison sentences. 2 The three hundred 
and thirty authorized to be on the royal pay-list 
were to comprise forty esquires, one hundred foot- 
soldiers, thirty able seamen, thirty common sailors, 
twenty goldsmiths, fifty field laborers, ten gardeners, 
twenty handicraftsmen of various kinds, and thirty 
women. Their stipend was to be $4 a month, a 
bushel of wheat every three months, and a further 
allowance for food of eight cents a day. 3 

After most discouraging delays occasioned by the 
lack of money, Columbus was able to despatch two 
ships in January, 1498; and then to follow himself 
with six ships and two hundred colonists on his 

1 Letter of Peter Martyr, June u, 1495, quoted by Hugues, 
Cronologia, 3. * Navarre te, Viages, II., 207, axa. 

* Ibid., 204; Memorials of Columbus, 83. 


third voyage, the last of May. At the Canaries the 
fleet was divided, three ships being sent direct to 
Espanola, while Columbus with three others turned 
southward to take his westward course along the 
equator. In these regions the suffering from the 
heat was intense, and Columbus veered again to the 
northward as soon as the wind permitted. Land 
was sighted July 31, and the name Trinidad was 
given to the island. 

Far to the south, on August i, the main-land of 
South America was descried, and on the supposition 
that it, too, was an island it was called " Isla Santa." 
Two weeks later he perceived the truth in regard to 
the land to the south and west and recorded in his 
journal, " I am convinced that this is the main-land 
and very large, of which no knowledge has been had 
until now." 1 This continental region he declared to 
his sovereigns to be an "otro mundo," " another 
world." 2 

The tribulations of the last few years had deepened 
the vein of religious mysticism in Columbus. Thrown 
back upon himself in the strain of his ceaseless la- 
bors on the sea, of the racking contests with in- 
subordinate and angry colonists, and of adverse 
conditions in Spain, he came more and more to re- 
gard himself as the chosen messenger of God, the 
instrument for the fulfilment of prophecy. "God 
made me the messenger of the new heaven and the 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 264. 

* Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 148. 


new earth, of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of 
St. John, after having spoken of it by the mouth of 
Isaiah, and He showed me where to find it." l His 
hold on the shreds of scientific knowledge and 
scientific spirit, that had filtered down from Aris- 
totle through Roger Bacon to Pierre d'Ailly, relaxed; 
and he yielded to the spell of the mythological geog- 
raphy of Sir John Mandeville. Cipango and the In- 
dies fade away into visions of the earthly paradise, 
forming the summit of a pear-shaped earth from 
which flow the four great rivers of the world. 2 

The mass of fresh water emptying into the ocean 
from the northern mouths of the Orinoco River, and 
the fact that he was south of Cipango, led him to 
the conclusion that he had reached "the end of the 
East " and that he was near the earthly paradise. 3 
It is in the early glow of this conviction that he de- 
scribed his outgoing voyage and its results. Those 
who disparage his work should remember that no 
"princes of Spain ever acquired any land out of 
their own country, save now that your highnesses 
have here another world. " "These lands," he con- 
cludes, "which I have recently discovered, and 
where, I believe in my soul, the earthly paradise 
is situated, will be immediately explored by the 
adelantado" i.e., Bartholomew Columbus. 4 

From such dreams he was rudely awakened a few 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 153. 

1 Book of Sir John Mandeville, chap. xxx. 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 134. 4 Ibid., 148, 150. 


days later, when he arrived at the new town on the 
south shore of Espafiola, founded by Bartholomew 
and named Santo Domingo for their father, Domin- 
ico, 1 the oldest European settlement in the New 
World which still exists. Here he heard the dis- 
heartening tale of renewed revolts on the part of the 
Indians, and, more serious still, of civil war among 
the Spaniards. The Indian chiefs had found the 
tribute almost insupportable, and the lassitude and 
illnesses which afflicted so many of the Spaniards 
encouraged them to plan to exterminate the in- 
vaders. The design, however, proved beyond their 
strength, even with the Spaniards divided into two 
hostile parties. 

The causes of this dissension lay in Columbus' s 
prolonged absence of thirty months, the belief that 
his cause was waning, the desperation engendered 
by want and disease, and the severe discipline en- 
forced by Bartholomew. Francis Roldan, a pro- 
tege of the admiral, who had appointed him alcalde, 
or chief -justice, raised the standard of revolt, planned 
the death of Bartholomew and Diego Columbus, and, 
failing of that, withdrew into the interior with 
about ninety men, where they preyed upon the 
Indians and gave themselves up to the indulgence 
of the passions of lust and cruelty. 

Of the total number of Spaniards left on the island 

1 Ferdinand Columbus, Historie, 239; Las Casas, Historia, II., 
136, says it received its name because the Spaniards arrived 
there on Sunday, "Domingo." 


two years before a large proportion had died, and 
of the remainder over one hundred and sixty were 
afflicted with the "mal francese." l Columbus felt 
it expedient to come to terms with Roldan, and with 
many concessions he was granted immunity from 
punishment and restored to his official position. 

In the mean time, Columbus had sent to Spain 
(October, 1498) for reinforcements, characterizing 
the insurgents as " abominable knaves and vilands, 
theeves and baudes, ruffians, adulterers, and ravish- 
ers of women, false-perjured vagabonndes, and such 
as had bin evther convict in prysons, or fledde for 
feare of judgement, etc." Not less passionate was 
the indictment preferred against him by the in- 
surgents and despatched by the same ship, for they 
accused the admiral and his brother of being " un- 
just menne, cruell enemies, and shedders of Span- 
ishe bloode," declaring that upon every light occa- 
sion they " would racke them, hang them, and head 
them, and that they tooke pleasure therein, and that 
they departed from them as from cruell tyrantes and 
wilde beastes rejoycing in bloode, also the kinges 
enemies, etc." 2 

Confronted by such charges and counter-charges, 
and shocked by the reports of the conditions in 
Espanola and by Columbus' s reliance upon the slave- 
trade as the economic basis of the colony, not only 

1 Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 240. 

* Eden's translation of Peter Martyr, in Hakluyt, Voyages, V 


advocated in his letters but exemplified by a cargo 
of six hundred shipped on this return voyage, 1 the 
monarchs felt the gravest misgivings of Columbus's 
capacity as a ruler. Nor was the constant railing 
clamor of impoverished returned colonists without 
weight. Ferdinand Columbus, in his life of his 
father, recalled the bitter experience of his boyhood, 
when in the summer of 1500 fifty or more of these 
vagabonds followed him and his brother in Granada, 
shouting, "There go the sons of the admiral of the 
mosquitoes who has found lands of vanity and de- 
lusion, the grave and misery of Castilian gentle- 

men." 2 

Under the pressure of all these circumstances, 
Ferdinand and Isabella, in the spring of 1499, ap- 
pointed as judge and governor of the islands and 
main-land Francisco de Bobadilla ; but owing to lack 
of money he did not sail till July, 1500. He was 
ordered to take back some of the Indians whom 
Columbus had shipped. 3 Bobadilla was a knight- 
commander of the military order of Calatrava, and 
is described by Oviedo as an old servant of the royal 
house, very honest and religious. 4 Yet he evidently 
started strongly prejudiced against Columbia, and 
this prejudice seems to have been turned upon his 
arrival to violent animosity by the sight of seven 

1 Las Casas, Historic, , II., 323, 340. 

3 Ferdinand Columbus, Historie, 276. 
1 Navarrete, Viages, II., 237, 239, 246. 

4 Oviedo, Historic* General, I., 69. 


Spaniards hanging on the gallows and the report 
that five more were to be executed on the morrow. 1 
After a one-sided hearing of accusations he acted 
with military promptness and put the admiral and 
his brothers in irons. 

Early in October, 1500, Columbus sailed for Spain, 
his fortunes apparently sunken to their lowest ebb. 
His feelings found expression in pathetic eloquence 
in a letter to a noble lady, formerly the nurse of 
Prince John. In this he reviews his career, and 
protests against the unjust standard by which he is 
judged in Spain. Instead of being treated like a 
provincial governor in Spain accused of malfeasance, 
he "ought to be judged as a commander sent from 
Spain to the Indies ... by the Divine will I have 
subdued another world to the dominion of the king 
and queen. 1 ' Bobadilla, he wrote, had treated him 
worse than a pirate treats the merchant. 2 

That Bobadilla proceeded with undue haste and 
relentless severity cannot be denied. Yet if he ear- 
lier bore the character ascribed to him by Oviedo, 
we must believe that he was impelled by a feeling 
of remorseless indignation aroused by the accumula- 
tion of charges preferred against the Columbus 
brothers. Las Casas summarizes them, and in their 
aggregate they recall those ^referred against the 
iron rule of Governor Dale in Virginia. 3 Some of the 

1 Las Casas, Historic,, II., 478. 

2 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 169, 170. 
1 Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 46, 66. 


accusations Las Casas pronounces false, but that the 
majority of the colonists were "discontented and 
very indignant against the admiral and his 
brothers" 1 is only too clear; and the friendly 
Las Casas writes that he has "no doubt that they 
did not show the modesty and discretion in govern- 
ing Spaniards which they should have done, and that 
they were much at fault, particularly in the severity 
and parsimony with which they allotted provisions, 
not distributing them according to each one's need, 
when the monarchs designed them for the support of 
all." 2 

As soon as the monarchs heard of Columbus' s 
arrival they ordered his release, and requested that 
he should appear at court at Granada. The meeting 
was an affecting one, and the monarchs assured 
Columbus that Bobadilla had exceeded his in- 
structions, that they had not intended his im- 
prisonment, and that his property and rights should 
be restored to him. In two respects, however, 
Columbus was never to recover his former position: 
he was not promised nor was he ever afterwards in- 
trusted with political authority ; and his monopolistic 
control over the whole field of western exploration 
was more and more invaded. 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 492. * Ibid., 495. 



HPHE relation which England bore to early At- 
1 lantic exploration offers some striking points 
of similarity to the position of Portugal. Situated 
like the peninsular kingdom upon the western verge 
of Europe, facing the sea of darkness, her hardy 
sailors had ventured into the northern waters just 
as those of Portugal pushed their way into the 
tropics. The exact date at which Bristol seamen 
began to resort to Iceland for trade and fishing 
cannot be ascertained; but such voyages were 
common in the fifteenth century, 1 and, it is probable, 
even earlier, at a time when more or less regular 
communication was still maintained between Ice- 
land and Greenland. 2 That the seafaring men of 

1 See Anderson, History of Commerce, year 1410, who quotes 
Rymer, Fcedera, IX., 322. 

1 The Greenland colony survived into the fifteenth century, and 
the pope had news of the conditions there, after 1418. See 
the letter of Pope Nicholas V., September 20, 1448, in Documenta 
Selecta e Tabulario Secreto Vaticano, Rome, 1893, translated in 
The American Hist. Mag., April, July, and October, 1902. The 
letter of Nicholas V. is in the July number, 288. Cf. also the 
facts recited in the letter of Alexander VI., ibid., 290. 



Bristol knew by tradition of Greenland is possible, 
and even probable. Through their commercial 
Intel-course with Portugal they were also familiar 
with the Azores, and may have known some of the 
early Portuguese ventures or projects to discover tjae 
islands of Antilia and Brazil. 

Hence it is not altogether surprising that we find 
recorded similar attempts at western voyages by 
Bristol sailors several years before Columbus under- 
took his great experiment. In the contemporary 
chronicle of William de Wyrcestre is the entry: 
1 'In 1480, on July 15, the ships of ... and John 
Jay, junior, of eighty tons burden, began a voyage 
at the port of Bristol, from King road to the island 
of Brasylle in the region west of Ireland faring over 
the sea, and Thlyde [i.e., perhaps, Th. Lyde] is master 
of the ship, the scientific seaman of all England, and 
news came to Bristol on Monday, September 18, 
that the ships sailed the seas for about niqe months 
[weeks?] and did not find the island, but were 
turned back by the storms of the sea to a port in 
Ireland for the protection of the ship and sailors/' l 

But England's first great achievement in oceanic 
exploration, like Spain's, was to be under the leader- 
ship of an Italian sailor, who first appears in the Eng- 
lish records on March 5, 1496, requesting a patent 
authorizing him to make discoveries in the eastern, 
western, or northern seas, and granting him dominion 
over any islands so discovered. 

1 Weare, Cabot's Discovery of North America, 59. 


The wording of the patent, framed in accordance 
with the suggestions of this John Cabotto, indicates 
familiarity with the grants accorded to Columbus, 
and the omission from the charter of the words 
"Southern Seas" reflects, no doubt, his intention or 
that of Henry VII. not to intrude upon the fields 
of discovery already occupied by Spain and 
Portugal. 1 Indeed, during Cabotto!s negotiations at 
court the Spanish ambassador Puebla informed his 
sovereigns that "one like Colon had come to engage 
the king in another enterprise like that of the 
Indies, yet without prejudice to Spain and Portu- 

Of the earlier career of John Cabot very little is 
known directly. He is described by the Spanish 
minister as a Genoese who had been in Seville and in 
Lisbon endeavoring to secure aid for this discovery. 8 
In 1476 he received full citizenship in Venice after 
a residence of fifteen years. 4 All that we know 
of the genesis of his project is derived from a letter 
of the Milanese agent, Raimondo de Soncino, written 
in December, 1497, from which we learn that as 
Cabot had seen the kings of Portugal and of Spain 
occupy unknown islands, he planned to do the same 
for King Henry. Soncino adds that Cabot had a 
map of the world and a globe; and that earlier in 
life when in Mecca he had learned that the spices 
came from the remote east, and reasoned that as the 

1 Weare, Cabot's Discovery, 96. 

'Ibid., no, in. 'Ibid., 160. * Ibid., 70. 


earth is round their source could be reached by 
sailing westward. In another voyage he expected 
to reach Cipango, where all the spices in the world 
grow. If success crowned these efforts he hoped 
to make London a greater market for spices than 
Alexandria 1 ~ a striking forecast of the shifting of 
the centre of the world's commerce that was to be a 
consequence of the discoveries. 

Early in May, 1497, over a year after the granting 
of the patent, John Cabot set sail from Bristol with 
one small ship and eighteen men. After passing 
the western extremity of Ireland he ascended 
towards the north and then began to sail to the 
eastern regions, leaving the north on his right 
hand. 2 After sailing some four hundred leagues 8 
he reached main-land, which he reported to be the 
land of the Gran Cam. Signs of inhabitants were 
found, but no people. He followed the coast for 
three hundred leagues, and then started upon the 
return voyage, which he did not interrupt to explore 
two fertile -looking islands which appeared on his 
right. Early in August he reached Bristol, having 
been absent about three months. 4 

The safe return and the successful paralleling for 

1 Weare, Cabot's Discovery, 144 ff. 

2 "Ale parte orientate." It refers not to the direction, but to 
his destination, the Orient. 

8 Weare, Cabot's Discovery, 143, 159. The letter of Pasqualigo 
gives the distance as 700 leagues. Ibid., 138. 

4 Letters of Pasqualigo and Raimondo de Soncino, in ibid., 
138, 144- 


England of Columbus's work for Spain aroused great 
enthusiasm in Bristol and London, and Cabot was 
called * ' the great admiral/ ' Frugal Henry VII . kept 
his own feelings within moderate bounds, if we may 
judge from the entry among the privy -purse ac- 
counts, August 10 : "To hym that found the New 
Isle, 10." l In the December following the king 
granted him a pension of 20 per year, to be paid 
from customs* receipts at Bristol. 2 

Such, in brief, are the principal facts of the voy- 
age on which England's rights to America were 
originally based. Even for this scanty narrative it 
is only within the last forty years that the slender 
details have been known. Few characters in his- 
tory owe more to modern research than John Cabot. 
Not a writer himself like his great compatriot, he left 
his fame a legacy to his son, who, instead of devoting 
to it a pious memorial, like Ferdinand Columbus, 
deftly clothed himself with it and secured for over 
three centuries the principal credit of an expedition 
in which there is no direct evidence to show that he 
even participated. 

In such accounts of the Cabot voyages as were 
derived from Sebastian Cabot in Spain he is always 
the principal actor; in some, his father is not men- 
tioned; and in one he is described as already dead. 3 
In not one is the tfrue relation of his father to the 
enterprise correctly given. The intricacies of the 

1 Weare, Cabot's Discovery, 124. J Ibid., 128. 

1 See the documents, ibid., 169-209. 


Cabot problem yield only to a careful classification 
of our sources of information: first, into English 
state documents; second, contemporary reports by 
Italian and Spanish envoys in England derived in 
part from John Cabot himself; and third, narratives 
in the Spanish and Italian writers derived fifteen or 
twenty years later from Sebastian Cabot. The first 
two classes agree with each other and are at vari- 
ance with the third, which, in accordance with sound 
principles of historical criticism, must therefore be 

The date of the land-fall, June 24, does not ap- 
pear earlier than the so-called Cabot map of 1544. 
It was probably derived from Sebastian Cabot. In 
regard to the land-fall, controversy has been as 
busy as with the identity of the San Salvador of Co- 
lumbus, but the results are not so satisfactory. The 
Canadian scholars Dawson and Prowse advocate 
respectively Cape Breton and Newfoundland. Har- 
risse has been insistent for Labrador, but with slight 
assent from those familiar with the region, and he 
now inclines to a more southern region. 1 In view 
of this uncertainty, it has been questioned whether 
John Cabot's report that he found the main-land 
should be accepted as final. He may have been as 
much mistaken as was Columbus about Cuba. 

As a daring navigator, John Cabot must rank with 
the greatest of that age ; his crew numbered eighteen, 

1 Weare, Cabot's Discovery, 278 ff.; Ha.rrisse,Dfcouverte et Evo- 
lution Cartographique dc Tcrre-Neuve et des Pays Circonvoisins. 


the exact equipment of the Nina, the smallest of 
Columbus's little fleet, and hence it may be assumed 
that the two vessels were about the same size 
that is, about forty tons burden. Of a second Cabot 
voyage, in 1498, we have little unquestioned knowl- 
edge. A new patent was granted to John Cabot alone 
on February 3, authorizing him to take as many 
as six ships and such masters, mariners, or other 
subjects as should volunteer. 1 In the' early spring 
the fleet of five vessels set sail for the Spice Islands, 
if we may accept Soncino's report of Cabot's inten- 
tions. 2 In the despatch of the Spanish ambassador 
Puebla, 3 it is still the island of Brazil that is the goal; 
while the other Spanish envoy, Ayala, writes that 
the purpose was to visit the discoveries of the pre- 
vious year. 4 We are left strangely in the dark as to 
the results of this voyage, and this scarcity of in- 
formation about the first attempt to found an Eng- 
lish colony reflects how far England was behind 
Spain in appreciating such enterprises at that time, 
and reminds us of what we have lost from England* s 
having had no Peter Martyr or Oviedo. 
m It is unknown whether John Cabot came back 
alive or whether Sebastian Cabot went on the voy- 
age. There is no record of the return of the expe- 
dition, yet as John Cabot, for lack of time, could not 
have explored in 1497 all the region marked on the 
La Cosa map, including the "sea discovered by the 

1 Weare, Cabot's Discovery, 156. 

*Ibid., 146. *Ibid., 159. * Ibid., 160. 


English/' corresponding roughly to the waters from 
Long Island to North Carolina; and as the account 
of the one Cabot voyage described to Peter Martyr 
about 1515 by Sebastian Cabot 1 cannot apply to 
the first voyage for the same reason, this narrative 
has generally been accepted as a loose and inac- 
curate account of the voyage of 1498. On the basis 
of these two sources it would appear that in his sec- 
ond voyage Cabot followed the coast of North 
America down to the latitude of South Carolina, 
if not somewhat farther. This conclusion is con- 
firmed by the injunctions of the Spanish monarchs 
to Hojeda in 1501 when about to set sail for the 
Caribbean Sea, to put a stop to the discoveries of 
the English in that quarter, 2 clearly implying a re- 
port to the monarchs that the English had either 
been met with in West Indian waters or that 
their English envoys had reported such an intru- 

Additional evidence of an exploration of the 
southeastern shores of North America before 1502 
is afforded by the Cantino map prepared in Lisbon 
in that year, which clearly depicts the peninsula of 
Florida and a considerable stretch of coast to the 
north, and applies some twenty names to it. Again 
we have the recollection in Robert Thome's tract 
of an English voyage on which, "if the mariners 
would then have been ruled and followed their 

1 Wcare, Cabot's Discovery, 169. 
3 Navarrete, Wages, III., 86. 


pilot's minde, the landes of the West Indies (from 
whence all the gold commeth) had been ours." l 

Three years later, on March 19, 1501, King Henry 
granted to Richard Warde, Thomas Asshehurste, 
merchants of Bristol, and to John Farnandez and 
Francis Farnandez, a very detailed and elaborate 
charter covering discoveries, trade, and coloniza- 
tion in all seas east, west, south, and north, except- 
ing where the king of Portugal or some other Chris- 
tian prince had made a settlement. 2 In 1502 the 
company, if such it may be called, was reorganized, 
the names of Richard Warde and John Farnandez 
dropping out, and that of Hugh Elyot, of Bristol, 
taking first place. 

Of their enterprises we have no record, but voy- 
ages seem to have been made under these charters. 
On December 6, 1503, an order of King Henry's to 
his treasurer recalls that on September 26, 1502, he 
"gaf and graunted unto our trusty and well-beloved 
subjectts ffraunceys ffernandus and John Guidisal- 
vus squiers in consideracion of the true service which 
they have doon unto us to our singler pleasur as 
capitaignes unto the newe founde lande." 8 That 
voyages were made under the second charter seems 
to be indicated by the grant of the king, September 
30, 1503, of 20, 4< to the merchants of Bristol that 
have bene in the Newe founde Launde." 4 More- 

1 Winship, Cabot Bibliography, 98. . 

1 Biddle, Sebastian Cabot, 306. 

1 Harrisse, John and Sebastian Cabot, 397, 398. 

4 Harrisse, Discovery of North America , 692. 


over, there is in Hakluyt a brief report of a voyage 
made presumably in 1503 by Nicholas Thorne with 
"a merchant of Bristowe named Hugh Elliott." * 

It is worthy of remark, in connection with the ac- 
tivities of this company, that there is no reference to 
Sebastian Cabot ; if he was a capable mariner at this 
period, and had been on either of his father's voy- 
ages, this complete silence is noteworthy. 

The shadowy history of the work of these Bristol 
merchants and Azorean navigators must not be dis- 
missed without noting that their organization was 
the pioneer English colonial company, the fore- 
runner of the East India Company and of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company; and that their charter stands 
at the head of the long procession of colonial char- 
ters which are the foundation-stones in the noble 
fabric of American written constitutions. For the 
development of the New World, however, England 
was not ready ; her rulers found continental politics 
too alluring; it was a region where sooner or later 
they must clash with a friendly state whose alliance 
was sought and valued; and the country itself was 
uninviting. Therefore, after these early ventures, 
inspired by "another Genoese like Columbus, " Eng- 
lish connections with the New World fade away into 
the obscurity of unrecorded fishing voyages. 

At the beginning of this chapter attention was 
directed to the similarity between the first English 
and the first Portuguese attempts to explore the 

1 Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 692. 


Atlantic. This similarity is especially striking when 
we notice how closely parallel with the Cabot voy- 
ages are the undertakings of the Corte-Real brothers. 
In pursuance of a charter issued May 12, 1500, 
granting to him any islands or main-land that he 
should discover, 1 Caspar Corte-Real set sail early 
in the summer and reached "a land which was very 
cool and with great woods/' 2 This is identified with 
much probability by Harrisse as the eastern shore of 

The next spring, 1501, with three vessels equipped 
in collaboration with his brother Miguel, he made 
another voyage, from which he never returned. 
Most of our information in regard to this second 
voyage is derived from the correspondence of 
Pietro Pasqualigo and Alberto Cantino, Italians 
living in Lisbon. In 1502 Cantino had a map 
made in Lisbon for the duke of Ferrara, and the 
testimony of this map points unmistakably to the 
conclusion that Corte-Real on this voyage reached 
the southern end of Greenland and then veered off 
towards Labrador and more thoroughly explored 
Newfoundland. 3 Cantino's report, however, of a 
coast where many large rivers flowed into the sea, 
and where, upon landing, they found delicious fruits 
of various kinds, trees and pines of marvellous 

1 Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 59. 

2 Goes, Chronica, translated in Markham, Journal of Columbus t 

s Such, at least, is Harrisse's view, Discovery of North Amer- 
ica, 63. 


height and girth, would point rather to the north- 
eastern shores of the present United States. 1 

On the other hand, the two caravels that returned 
brought between fifty and sixty captives who are 
described sufficiently closely to identify them as 
Eskimos. " They have brought from thence a piece 
of a broken sword, gilded, which was certainly 
made in Italy. A native boy had two silver rings 
in his ears, which, without doubt, seem to have been 
manufactured in Venice/' 2 Even more interesting 
than these relics of the Cabot voyages was the con- 
jecture of those that returned that this land "is 
joined to the Andilie, 3 which were discovered by the 
sovereign of Spain, and with the land of Papagd 
lately discovered by the ship of this king when on 
its way to Calicut." 4 This is the earliest conjecture 
of a great continental region extending from the 
arctic circle to the tropics. 

Of Gaspar Corte - Real nothing more was ever 
heard. His brother Miguel went out to search for 
him with three ships in May, 1502 ; two of these re- 
turned, but Miguel Corte-Real followed his brother 
to an unknown fate. King Emmanuer ' f elt the loss 
of these two brothers very much, and of his own royal 
and pious motion, in the year 1503, he ordered two 
armed ships to be fitted out at his own cost to go in 

1 Markham, Journal of Columbus, 1., H. * Ibid., 237. 

8 Antilles. Antillia was the current Portuguese name for the 
West Indies. 

4 Markham, Journal of Columbus, 235. The reference is to 
Cabral's discovery of Brazil. 


search of them. But it could never be ascertained 
how either the one or the other was lost. l Gaspar 
and Miguel Corte-Real, and perhaps John Cabot, 
too, head the long and sad procession of daring nav- 
igators who have perished in these northern waters. 
Yet the Corte-Reals were more fortunate than John 
Cabot, of whom no memorial was erected for four 
hundred years ; for to Newfoundland and the neigh- 
boring main-land was given on Portuguese maps and 
their derivatives the name of ' ' Land of the Corte- 
Reals/ 12 

1 Goes, in Markham, Journal of Columbus, 231. 

2 For the evidence that the Gulf of St. Lawrence was explored 
by the Portuguese Fagundes in 1520, see Hugues, Cronologia, 
27, 28, and Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 182. 



WHILE Columbus was contending with re- 
bellious Spaniards and revolting caciques in 
Espanola, others were exploring the confines of the 
4 'earthly paradise." The glowing account of this 
region and the map sent to the monarchs were 
shown by Bishop Fonseca, 1 who had charge of Indian 
affairs in Spain, to the adventurous Hojeda, who had 
so brilliantly distinguished himself by his resource 
and daring in the conflicts with the natives in Es- 
panola. Hojeda, although no sailor, shrank from 
nothing; and, attracted more by the pearls than by 
the " earthly paradise," promptly got up an expedi- 
tion through the assistance of the Seville merchants. 
Upon this expedition he was accompanied by two 
very remarkable men, Juan de la Cosa, the famous 
pilot and map-maker, who had been with Columbus 
on his second voyage (and probably also on his 
first voyage), 2 and Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine 

1 Las Casas, Historia, II., 269, 389; Navarrete, Viages* III., 
539; Markham, Letters of Amerigo Vespucci. 70. 

3 Markham, Columbus, index art. " Cosa, 11 and list of sailors, 

6 7 


business-man of scientific tastes and some literary 
gifts, who was destined to have his name attached to 
the New World, through the impression conveyed 
by his descriptions that he was the first to discover 
a continental region south of the equator unknown 
to the ancients. The little fleet of four vessels set 
sail in May, 1499, following the route of Columbus 
in his third voyage. 

Hojeda reached the continent of South America 
somewhere near Paramaribo, in Surinam, and then 
coasted northward and westward the whole breadth 
of British Guiana and of Venezuela (Little Venice), 
whose name dates from Hojeda' s finding a village 
built on piles in the Gulf of Maracaibo which re- 
minded him somewhat remotely, it must be sup- 
posed of the Queen of the Adriatic. 1 The new 
ground covered in this voyage was the coast-line 
first southeast and then west of the strip seen by 
Columbus. Its geographical results are depicted 
on Juan de la Cosa's map of 1500. Hojeda then 
turned north and spent some two months in Es- 
panola. Sailing thence for Spain, he raided two 
of the lesser Antilles, capturing some two hundred 
and twenty natives to be sold as slaves. These 
with the pearls and gold from the coast of terra 
firtna formed the returns for the venturers. For 
Vespucci the voyage yielded the principal ma- 
terials for his descriptions of his first voyage, 

1 Markham, Vespucci, x Markham gives translations of 
Las Casas's accounts of Hojeda's voyage, 68. 


which he boldly antedated as having taken place 
in 1497. 

Not long after Hojeda left Cadiz, Alonso Nino, of 
Moguer, an expert pilot who had accompanied Co- 
lumbus in his second and third voyages, set sail from 
Palos with one caravel of fifty tons burden and 
thirty -three men for the pearl coast, which he reached 
a few days before Hojeda. 1 This voyage was the 
most profitable made up to this time, and its success 
greatly promoted the exploration of northern South 
America. 2 

The first approach to that part of the continent 
south of the equator which was later to fall to Por- 
tugal in accordance with the demarcation line es- 
tablished by the treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, was 
made almost simultaneously by the Spaniards and 
Portuguese. In November, 1499, while Columbus 
was still in Espanola, his old companion of the first 
voyage, Vicente Yanez Pinzon, equipped four vessels 
and secured a permit from the sovereigns to make 
discoveries in the Indies. 3 Leaving Palos on No- 
vember 1 8, Pinzon boldly struck out a new route, 
first going south to the Cape Verd Islands and then 
bearing off to the southwest. A violent storm 
drove him farther south than he intended to go, 
and he lost sight of the north star. January 20 
he sighted land on the eastern shore of Brazil. 

1 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 251, n. 
* Ibid., 254; Navarrete. Viages, III., 540. 
8 Navarrete, Viages, III., 82. 


No inhabitants were found at first, but later they 
appeared, and the Spaniards were astonished at 
their size. After futile attempts at peaceful trade 
they turned northward and followed the coast about 
two thousand miles, discovering on the way the 
mouth of the Amazon. Sharing the view of Co- 
lumbus, they believed this region to be an extension 
of the India of the Ganges. 1 Of the three vessels, 
only that of the leader weathered the storm en- 
countered on the return, and it reached Palos Sep- 
tember 30, 1500. Unfortunately for his later fame 
Pinzon was not a writer, and our knowledge is 
mainly derived from Peter Martyr's interviews with 
those who went on the voyage. 2 Yet Pinzon's 
title to be the first who explored South America 
below the equator is at present unchallenged, and 
was explicitly recorded by Juan de la Cosa on his 

Pinzon's course was closely followed a few weeks 
later by Diego de Lepe, who also started from Palos, 
and whose distinctive achievement was attaining a 
more southern point below Cape St. Augustine, on 
the Brazilian coast, before he returned north. 8 He 
reported his discoveries earlier than Pinzon, having 
reached home in June, 1500. These parallel voy- 

1 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 99, 101. 

1 Ibid , 95; Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 206; Thacher, Columbus, II., 
510 (a translation of Martyr's account as it first appeared in 
the Libretto de Tutta la Navtgazione, etc., 1504). 

8 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 258; Las Casas, Historia, 
II. t 453. 454- 

1502] THE COAST-LINE 71 

ages of Pinzon and Lepe in all probability afforded 
Amerigo Vespucci the materials for the narrative of 
his second voyage. That he went on one of them 
is the conclusion of most investigators, and it is 
the general trend of opinion that he accompanied 
Lepe. 1 

The next Spanish voyage was made by Rodrigo 
de Bastidas, a notary of Seville, with the co-operation 
of Juan de la Cosa. They set sail in October, 1500, 
from Cadiz, and devoted themselves to the explora- 
tion of the northern coast of South America west of 
Cape de la Vela (where Cosa and Hojeda turned 
homeward) , which they completed as far as the later 
Nombre de Dios on the isthmus. After a variety 
of fortunes they reached Cadiz in September, 

I502. 2 

Thus, between the arrival in Spain of Columbus' s 
letter announcing the discovery of the main-land 
and pearl region in 1498 and his departure on his 
fourth voyage, the coast of South America from 
Cape St. Augustine, eight degrees south latitude, to 
the Isthmus of Panama had been explored, a dis- 
tance of three thousand miles. In the mean time, 
the activity and success of the Spaniards in explor- 
ing the western Indies now led King Emmanuel, 
who succeeded to the throne of Portugal in 1495, to 

1 Hugues, Cronologia, 7 ; Gunther, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 


1 Navarrete, Viages, III., 545. On these minor voyages, see 
also Irving, Companions of Columbus, chaps, i.-v. 


take up again with energy the pursuit of the long- 
sought goal of an ocean route to the eastern Indies, 
which had been intermitted after Diaz had rounded 
the Cape of Good Hope in 1486, owing in part to the 
ill health of King John II. In midsummer, 1497, 
Vasco da Gama, a young man of unwavering cour- 
age and iron resolution, sailed from Lisbon with a 
small fleet of four ships. From the Cape Verd 
Islands he struck off boldly through the mid-south 
Atlantic, the first to venture in that vast waste of 
waters, until he reached the parallel of thirty de- 
grees south; when, availing himself of the westerly 
trades, he turned towards Africa, where he made the 
first landing in St. Helena Bay, about one hundred 
miles north of the cape. For ninety-three days he 
had been out of sight of land, as compared with 
Columbus's thirty-five days on his first voyage. 1 
Thus before his work was half done Da Gama made 
the longest unbroken sea- voyage up to this time. 

The details of the remainder of the expedition 
around the Cape of Good Hope and then to India 
lie outside the scope of this work, for it is with its 
bearing on American history only that we are 
concerned. The first news of his success reached 
Lisbon July 10, 1499, through the arrival of his 
associate Coelho, almost exactly two years after 
their departure. Da Gama's return, a few weeks 
later, was followed early in September by a tri- 
umphal entry into Lisbon. 

1 Ravenstein, Vasco da Gama's First Voyage, xviii., 186-190. 

1 5oo] THE COAST-LINE 73 

Six years earlier Columbus had proudly announced 
to King John that he had discovered the Indies 
by sailing west; but every year had piled up per- 
plexities and doubts, and even the intense convic- 
tions of the admiral were sometimes shaken. Now, 
while his fortunes were sinking because Spanish ex- 
pectations were not realized, King Emmanuel was 
able with a courteously veiled exultation to report 
to Ferdinand and Isabella that the real Indies had 
been reached by "Vasco da Gama, a nobleman of 
our household, and his brother Paulo da Gama " ; that 
they found " large cities, large edifices, and rivers, 
and great populations, among whom is carried on all 
the trade in spices and precious stones. ... Of spices 
they have brought a quantity, including cinnamon, 
cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper, . . . also many 
fine stones of all sorts, such as rubies and others." 
The great trade which now enriches the Moors in 
those parts he hopes will be diverted " to the natives 
and ships of our own kingdom, so that henceforth 
all Christendom in this part of Europe shall be 
able, in a large measure, to provide itself with these 
spices and precious stones." l Every detail of con- 
trast between the real Indies and the West Indies 
appears upon the comparison of this letter of July, 
1499, with the descriptions of the voyages of Co- 

Early in the following year a large fleet of twelve 
big ships and one caravel, under the command of 

1 Ravenstein, Vasco da Gama's First Voyage, xviii., 113, 114. 


Pedralvarez Cabral, sailed from Lisbon for India. 
After leaving the Cape Verd Islands Cabral fol- 
lowed Vasco da Gama's course, and probably his 
advice, 1 in striking out into the Atlantic in a south- 
westerly direction. In so doing he was perhaps 
carried farther by the westerly equatorial current 2 
than he planned, for on April 21 land was sight- 
ed. It was the eastern coast of Brazil, near the 
modern Porto Seguro, in about eighteen degrees 
south latitude. Cabral named the country Santa 
Cruz ("Holy Cross"), despatched a ship to report 
his discovery, and resumed his way to India. Ever 
since the time of the Portuguese historian Osorio it 
has commonly been stated that Cabral was blown 
out of his course by a storm. 3 There is no mention 
of this storm in the contemporary accounts, 4 and 
Osorio evidently misplaced the violent storm which 
befell Cabral after he left Brazil, and sank four of 
his ships with all on board before his eyes. 5 

That Cabral was not consciously much out of his 
way is clear from King Emmanuel's announcement 
to Ferdinand and Isabella after his return that the 
newly discovered land "was very convenient and 
necessary for the voyage to India/' 6 That the 

1 Ravenstein, Vasco da Gama's First Voyage, xviii., 190. 

2 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 263. 

'Osorio, De Rebus Emmanuelis, etc., pub. 1571 (ed. of 1791), 
I., 177. 

4 Alguns Documentos, 108. Barros describes the storm that 
fell upon them before reaching the Cape Verd Islands, Da 
Asia, dec. L, liv. V., chap. ii. 

Navarrete, Viages, in., 95. * Ibid. 

i S oo] THE COAST-LINE 75 

Portuguese should have lighted on Brazil in their 
second expedition sent out to the East Indies as a 
consequence of natural conditions is one of the most 
singular incidents in history, for it shows with al- 
most complete certainty that if Christopher Colum- 
bus had never lived, the New World would have 
been discovered within a few years of the time of 
its actual discovery, as an inevitable sequel of the 
activities of Prince Henry the Navigator in pro- 
moting geographical exploration. 

This fact, of course, does not detract from the 
genius and courage of Columbus or diminish the 
immense impetus which he gave to Spanish ex- 
ploration and colonization; yet it is true, and as 
strange as true, that one of thfc most universally cel- 
ebrated men in all history could have been spared 
without affecting materially the occurrence of the 
great event inseparably associated with his career. 
The loss would have been spiritual rather than ma- 
terial. The western hemisphere would have been 
found and reported in the natural colors of its virgin 
life, not clothed in the raiment of the gorgeous East. 
Such is the potency of the genius of man in its sway 
over us that the illusions of the great Genoese are 
so in-wrought into the very texture of early American 
history that one feels it impossible to reconstruct 
it as it would have unfolded without his touch. 

Just what impression the voyages of Vasco da 
Gama made upon the mind of Columbus is not re- 
corded in any of his writings, but that it reawakened 


within him the desire to demonstrate that the real 
Indies could be reached by going west is clear from 
the preparations for his fourth and last voyage. 
Yet, on the other hand, while King Emmanuel 
and Vasco da Gama were ushering in the modern 
era of world-ocean commerce, Columbus, still feel- 
ing the appeal of mediaeval ideals, had day-dreams 
of the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. He faces 
both ways, now to the future with its enormous de- 
velopment of scientific knowledge of the world, now 
to the past with its mysticism. He is at once ahead 
of and behind his age. In the months that followed 
his return from his third voyage he devoted much 
time to the compilation of his Book of Prophecies, 
one of the most curious of his literary remains. It 
is a medley of Scripture passages supposed to fore- 
tell the recovery of the Holy City and Mount Zion, 
and "the discovery and conversion of the islands of 
India and of all peoples and nations. " * 

In February, 1502, Columbus wrote Pope Alex- 
ander VI. a short account of his voyages, in which he 
identifies Espanola with the Tarshish and Ophir of 
the Bible and with Cipango, and concludes with his 
hopes for his next voyage, the fourth. "This un- 
dertaking is made with a view to expend what is 
derived from it in guarding the Holy Sepulchre for 
Holy Church. After I was there and had seen the 

1 See the extracts in Navarrete, Viages, II., 260; in English in 
Thacher, Columbus, III., 660-664. The whole is reproduced 
in the Raccolta Colombiana. 

1502] THE COAST-LINE 77 

land I wrote the king and queen my lords that in 
seven years I would pay for fifty thousand foot and 
five thousand horse for the conquest of it, and in 
five more years fifty thousand more foot and five 
thousand horse, making ten thousand horse and one 
hundred thousand foot Satan has disturbed all 
this." * 

The more immediate purpose, however, of Colum- 
bus in his fourth and last voyage was to find a 
strait that would take him beyond the terra firma 
revealed by the voyages of Hojeda, Pinzon, and 
Bastidas into the Indian Ocean. 2 The sovereigns 
readily gave him the permission, and by the spring 
of 1 502 he had four ships ready. Besides his brother 
Bartholomew and his younger son Ferdinand he re- 
quested the privilege to take two or three men fa- 
miliar with Arabic to serve as interpreters in case 
the strait was found. 3 

On May 9, 1502, he set sail and was so favored by 
the weather that he made the run from the Grand 
Canary to Martinique in twenty-one days, arriving 
there June 15. The sovereigns, for fear of trouble, 4 
had given Columbus permission to land in Espanola 
only on the return voyage ; yet one of his ships was 
in such bad condition that he went thither to de- 
spatch letters to Spain requesting another ship. 

1 Navarrete, Vtagcs, II., 280-282; Raccolta CoLombiana, pt. i., 
II. , 164. 

2 Las Casas, Historia, III., 22; Ferdinand Columbus, Historie, 
293; Navarrete, Viages, III., 556. 

3 Las Casas, Historia, III., 25. 4 Ibid., 29. 


The governor, Ovando, however, was firm in abiding 
by the letter of his instructions, and the former vice- 
roy of the Indies was denied access to his recent 

This humiliation occurred when there was assem- 
bled in the harbor of Santo Domingo a great fleet 
of twenty-eight ships, in which were embarked for 
Spain his relentless judge, Bobadilla, his rebellious 
protege, Roldan, and the captive cacique, Guarionex, 
and some two hundred thousand castellanos of gold, 
half for the king and half belonging to the passen- 
gers, including a famous nugget weighing six hundred 
ounces, worth to-day about $11,000. According 
to Ferdinand Columbus and Las Casas, Columbus 
urged Ovando to delay their sailing for a week be- 
cause he foresaw a storm, but he was not heeded, 
and must needs himself seek shelter elsewhere. The 
great fleet started, but only to have swoop down 
upon it a West-Indian hurricane which overwhelmed 
twenty of the ships, not a soul escaping, and on land 
swept clean all the houses in the older part of Santo 
Domingo. 1 Columbus escaped without loss. No 
wonder such a visitation seemed to the filial Fer- 
dinand a signal instance of divine retribution. 2 

For Columbus, however, it was the beginning of a 
series of gales which made this his last voyage the 

1 Santo Domingo was rebuilt on the other side of the river on 
a less exposed site. 

1 Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 286; Las Casas, Historia, III., 
31, says there were thirty or thirty-one ships. 

i $02] THE COAST-LINE 79 

most arduous of his life. Of these terrors he gives 
a vivid picture in his letter to the sovereigns. For 
eighty-eight days was he buffeted by one continuous 
storm without sight of sun or stars. At length 
towards the middle of September land was descried, 
and gratefully named " Thanks be to God " (Gracias 
d, Dios). 1 In this neighborhood, off the coast of 
Honduras, he met a large canoe with an awning over 
it, loaded with men, women, and children and vari- 
ous articles of merchandise. The people were partly 
clothed and their fabrics showed fine workmanship. 
Here was something different from the naked sim- 
plicity of Espanola. These Indians had attained a 
relatively high stage of culture. But Columbus had 
his mind too firmly fixed uppn the strait to follow 
up such indications with unbiassed eyes, and from 
these natives and others to the south he got only 
confirmations of his own illusions. 

Nothing can so well illustrate the spell which this 
man's imagination and his prepossessions cast over 
his eyes and ears than to read what he believed he 
learned from the aborigines of Honduras and Costa 
Rica although neither he nor any of his followers 
knew a word of their various languages 2 in regard 
to the up-country inhabitants of those regions. 
"They are all likewise acquainted with the pepper- 
plant ; according to the account of these people the 
inhabitants of Ciguare are accustomed to hold fairs 
and markets for carrying on their commerce; . . . 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbia, 178. Ibid., 201. 


others assert that their ships carry guns, and that 
the men go clothed and use bows and arrows, swords 
and cuirasses, and that on shore they have horses, 
which they use in battle, and that they wear rich 
clothes and have most excellent houses. They say 
also that the sea surrounds Ciguare, and that at ten 
days* journey from thence is the river Ganges/' * 
That he had at last found the Malay Peninsula, the 
Golden Chersonese of the ancients, he had no doubt. 
From Honduras he followed the coast till he reached 
the narrowest part of the Isthmus of Panama, con- 
tinually reinforced in these convictions. What he 
had really done was to complete the proof that from 
sixteen degrees north to eight degrees south lati- 
tude there was an unbroken coast -line. Hence- 
forth the search for the strait must be made in 
higher latitudes. 

This fourth voyage was filled with many romantic 
episodes, such as the canoe voyage of Diego Mendez 
to Espanola for help, when the ships, riddled with 
borers, had to be beached on the Jamaica shore; 2 
and the intimidation of the Indians by foretelling a 
darkening of the moon as evidence that God was 
angry with them for their hostility to His servants, 
the Spaniards, a stroke that has more than once 
served to thrill the readers of the fiction of modern 
adventure. 8 Yet these incidents belong more prop- 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 181, 182. 

2 His narrative is in Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 212-243. 
8 Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 346. 

i S o6] THE COAST-LINE 81 

erly to the biography of Columbus. After waiting 
nearly a year in Jamaica, amid perils from treacher- 
ous followers and hostile natives, he was rescued by 
the caravels despatched by Mendez. 

It was November, 1504, when he arrived in Seville, 
a broken man, something over twelve years from 
the time he first set sail from Palos. Each suc- 
cessive voyage since his first had left him at a lower 
point. On his return from his second he was on the 
defensive; after his third he was deprived of his 
viceroyalty; on his fourth he was shipwrecked, in 
addition to his previous misfortunes. The last 
blow, the death of his patron Isabella, soon followed. 
It was months before he was able to attend court. 
His strength gradually failed, he sank from the pub- 
lic view, and on the eve of Ascension Day, May 20, 
1506, he passed away in obscurity in the city of 
Valladolid. 1 

The busy correspondent, Peter Martyr, was in 
Valladolid that spring from February 10 to April 
26, and then again from June 30, and wrote sev- 
eral letters from there in June and July; but the 
death of the "certain Ligurian" whose strange voy- 
age he had reported thirteen years before found no 

1 The date of Columbus' s death was settled by Duro, who found 
this entry in the MS. chronicle of Jos6 de Vargas Ponce: "El 
Almirante Colon, que descubri6 las Indias y otras muchas tierras, 
Morio en esta Villa [Valladolid] Miercoles vispera de la Ascen- 
sion, 20 de Mayo de 506." Ruge, Columbus, 205. The first 
printed notice of his death appeared ten years later, in the 
first chapter of the second decade of Peter Martyr (Alcala, 
1516); Thacher, Columbus, III., 506. 


mention in them. 1 The first historian to moralize 
upon the career of Columbus was Oviedo, who, a 
generation later, wrote: " Besides his services to the 
sovereigns of Castile, all Spaniards owe him much, 
for although many of them suffered and died in the 
conquest of these Indies, many others became rich 
and otherwise advantaged. Yet what is greater is 
that in lands so remote from Europe, and where the 
devil was served and worshipped, he has been driven 
out by the Christians, and our holy Catholic faith 
and the church of God established and carried on in 
this far country, where there are such great king- 
doms and dominions by the means and efforts of 
Christoval Colom. And more than this, such great 
treasures of gold, silver, and pearls, and many other 
riches and merchandise, have been brought and will 
be brought hence to Spain that no virtuous Spaniard 
will forget the benefits bestowed upon his country 
with God's help by this first admiral of the Indies/' * 
Upon Columbus the man the most diverse judg- 
ments have been pronounced. His great contempo- 
raries whose achievements challenge comparison 
with his own, Vasco da Gama and Magellan, are 
silent figures, iron rulers of men, whom we see only 
through the eyes of those whom they dominated. 
Columbus, on the other hand, has revealed himself 
in his writings as few men of action have been re- 
vealed. His hopes, his illusions, his vanity and love 

^hacher, Columbus, III., 504, 505. 
2 Oviedo, Historia General, I., 81. 

i S o6] THE COAST-LINE 83 

of money, his devotion to by-gone ideals, his keen 
and sensitive observation of the natural world, his 
credulity and utter lack of critical power in dealing 
with literary evidence, his practical abilities as a 
navigator, his tenacity of purpose and boldness of 
execution, his lack of fidelity as a husband and a 
lover, his family pride, all stand out in clear relief. 

Columbus is a living personality with all its baffling 
mystery. No one of the many portraits that have 
come down to us is surely authentic, and they differ 
from one another as widely as the characterizations 
of the historians. The attempt to portray him either 
in words or colors has resulted quite as much in the 
self-revelation of artist or historian as in the res- 
toration of this vanished personality. 

In the career of its discoverer there is the pro- 
phetic intimation that America would mean op- 
portunity. Of all the self-made men that America 
has produced, none has had a more dazzling suc- 
cess, a more pathetic sinking to obscurity, or achieved 
a more universal celebrity. Born a plebeian, his 
descendants are hereditary nobles; the son of a 
woollen-weaver of Genoa, he becomes the viceroy 
of the Indies; " loosing the barriers of the Ocean Sea 
which had been closed with such strong chains, " l 
"he gave to Castile and Leon a new world, " and 
then, after all, he left the stage almost unnoticed. 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 191 . The words Columbus 
heard in a trance on his fourth voyage. 




HPHE voyages of the Florentine Amerigo Ves- 
1 pucci belong rather to the literary than to the 
geographical history of the New World. An acute 
observer of things new and strange and a clever 
writer, he became, through the publication of his 
letters in the countries beyond the Pyrenees, the 
principal source of information about the western 
Indies. In these narratives he made himself the 
central personality ; in not one of them did he men- 
tion the name of the commander under whom he 
sailed, and consequently the impression easily gained 
ground that he was a discoverer. His place in the 
history of the discoveries is the most remarkable 
illustration of eternal celebrity won through a happy 
combination of the literary gift and self-advertise- 
ment, with the co-operation of the printing-press. 

Amerigo Vespucci, generally known to the English 

world under a Latinized form of his name, Ameri- 

cus Vesputius, was born in Florence March 9, 1452, 

where he lived until some forty years of age. 1 He 

1 Hugues, Raccolta Colombiana, pt. v., II., 115. 

8 4 


entered business life, became connected with the 
mercantile house of the Medici, and in 1492 went to 
Seville, in Spain, as its foreign agent. He first appears 
in the Spanish documents as employed in carrying 
out the contracts of an Italian merchant, Berardi, 
engaged in equipping vessels for the government for 
the service to the Indies. He apparently continued 
in this business as a contractor till I499, 1 when the 
vicissitudes of business life finally led him to desire 
something more ' ' praiseworthy and stable. ' ' He then 
resolved to "see the world/' and availed himself of 
the opportunity to join an expedition of four ships 
which was going out to discover new lands towards 
the west. 2 

It is at this point that the first puzzle in Ves- 
pucci's career or his character is met with. He 
says explicitly that the expedition sailed from Cadiz 
May 10, 1497 ; but there is no record, official or un- 
official, outside of his letter, of such a voyage in 
1497 . Further, Columbus' s monopoly privileges were 
solemnly renewed April 23 of this year, and the 
earlier authorization of independent voyages was 
officially revoked June 2. 3 That these formal rec- 
ognitions of Columbus' s privileges should be fla- 
grantly violated by the crown while the admiral was 
in Spain is hardly conceivable. 

It is, then, the accepted conclusion of very nearly 

1 Hugues, Raccolta Colombiana, pt. v. f II., 117. 

2 Vespucci's letter to Soderini in Markham, Letters of Amerigo 
Vespucci, 3. * Navarrete, Viages, II., 214, 219. 


all competent scholars that Vespucci's first voyage 
was made in 1499 with Hojeda. We have Hojeda's 
own statement under oath, in the suit of Diego Co- 
lumbus for his privileges, that Vespucci was with 
him ; * and we also have sworn statements that Ho- 
jeda' s was the first exploration of the northern coast 
of South America, which was the region visited by 
Vespucci in his first voyage. 2 Vespucci's narrative 
harmonizes in a number of minor details with what 
we know of the voyage of Hojeda. 

The attempt was made by the Brazilian scholar 
Varnhagen, whose views are familiar to English 
readers from John Fiske's enthusiastic adoption 
of them, 3 to show that Vespucci's voyage was really 
directed to the coast of Honduras and the shores of 
the Gulf of Mexico. In the Latin translation of the 
Soderini letter describing the four voyages, the first 
is said to have been along the coast of Farias, the. 
region where Columbus approached the continent 
of South America on his third voyage in 1498; while 
in the original Italian the name "Lariab" is given 
to the region, a name not elsewhere found. This is 
ordinarily explained as a misprint, but Varnhagen 
argued that it was correct and that it meant Hon- 

1 Navarrete, Viages,HI. t 544; in English in Markham, Letters 
of Amerigo Vespucci, 30. 

2 Hojeda's testimony as above; also Navarrete, Viages, III., 
558, 586, 590. In part reprinted in Markham, Letters of Amerigo 
Vespucci, 109. 

8 Varnhagen's view is also presented by Thacher, The Con- 
tinent of America, and by Gaffarel, Histoire de la Decouverte 
de I'Amcrique, II., 163. 


duras. This conjecture he based on the state- 
ments of the historians Gomara and Oviedo, who, 
writing, one a generation, the other two generations 
later, asserted that Vicente Yanez Pinzon discovered 
Honduras before the fourth voyage of Columbus. 1 
The most probable year for this voyage of Pinzon, 
Varnhagen thought to be 1497, which would har- 
monize then with Vespucci's narrative of an ex- 
pedition in that year. But the historian Herrera 
states that Pinzon 's voyage to Honduras was in 
I5o6. 2 This assertion Mr. Fiske tried to break 
down by characterizing it " as the single unsupported 
statement of Antonio de Herrera, whose great work 
was published in 1601." Unfortunately for this 
argument, Herrera copied this assertion from Las 
Casas, who was a contemporary and who was living 
in the Indies at the time. Las Casas does not give 
the year, but explicitly asserts that Pinzon 1 s voy- 
age was undertaken when the news came of what 
Columbus had discovered on his fourth voyage. 8 
Not less explicit is the assertion of Ferdinand Co- 
lumbus that the voyage of Pinzon and Solis took place 
in 1508.* Still again, Peter Martyr dates the voy- 
age the year before that of Nicuesa (1509).* 

1 See Fiske, Discovery of America, II., 70. 

* Herrera, Historia General de los Hechos de los Castellanos,etc. t 
dec. I., lib. VI., chap, xvii.; the passage is given in Fiske, 
Discovery of America, II., 66. 8 Las Casas, III., 200, 201. 

4 Ferdinand Columbus, Historic, 290 (chap. 89 in original ed.). 

* Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, dec. II., chap. vii. (p. 
181 of the ed. of 1574). 


In view, then, of the restoration of Columbus's 
monopoly privileges, of the absence of any recorded 
voyage in 1497, and of the evidence that the Pinzon- 
Solis voyage occurred later than 1504, the conclu- 
sion is wellnigh as positive and confident as it is 
almost universally accepted to-day that Vespucci 
made no voyage in 1497 such as he ascribes to him- 
self ; and that consequently he was not the first dis- 
coverer of the main-land of South America, as he 
appeared to be from the widely circulated Latin 
edition of the Soderini letter, nor of the coast of Hon- 
duras as was first suggested by Varnhagen not forty 
years ago. 

Vespucci's first voyage, then, was made in 1499 
under Hojeda. His second, so far as can be ascer- 
tained, was made immediately upon his return from 
the first (it being supposed that he did not tarry in 
Espanola, as did Hojeda) with Diego de Lepe in 
1500, when the westward trend of the coast of South 
America below eight degrees south latitude was dis- 
covered. 1 

Vespucci's third voyage was made with a Portu- 
guese captain in 1501, who was despatched to 
explore the lands just discovered by Cabral. This 
expedition ran down the coast of Brazil to the 
thirty -second degree parallel, then veered off through 
the south Atlantic until the fifty-second degree was 
reached, .the highest southern latitude attained up 
to this time. 2 After a fierce storm land was dis- 

1 Hugues, Cronologia, 7. 3 Ibid. 9. 


covered, which is identified with the island of South 

Vespucci's fourth voyage in 1503 was undertaken 
with "the intention of discovering an island in 
the East called Melaccha, of which it was reported 
that it was very rich, and that it was the mart 
of all the ships that navigate the Gangetic and 
Indian seas." ! This project of the king of Portugal 
was based on the reports brought back by Cabral 
from Calicut in 1501. It was, therefore, a renewed 
effort to carry out the original design of Columbus, 
which was not destined to be actually accomplished 
until the time of Magellan. The details of the 
history of this expedition correspond to what the 
historian Goes tells us of the voyage of Coelho, 
who went over in part the same ground as that 
of 1501 without, however, going beyond sixteen de- 
grees south latitude. 2 

Of neither of these voyages was Vespucci the 
initiator, but according to his own account the 
first expedition on the return was intrusted to 
his command and in the second he was a captain. 
His name, however, is not to be found in the con- 
temporary Portuguese histories nor in the vast 
mass of documents in the archives of Portugal 
relating to the discoveries. 3 If his two private 

1 Markham, Letters of Amerigo Vespucci, 53. 

2 Hugues, Cronologia, 12. Yet cf. Markham, Letters of 
Amerigo Vespucci, xliii. 

8 Santarem, in Navarrete, Viages, III., 310; also Santarem, 
Researches, 13. 


letters to friends had not been published in Latin, 
instead of having the New World called after him, 
his name would have been known to us only as that 
of a map-maker and as the official examiner of 
pilots in Spain. 1 

Turning now to the products of his pen which 
wrought the seeming miracle, those whose au- 
thenticity is accepted consist of a letter written to 
Lorenzo Piero Francesco de' Medici from Lisbon, in 
March or April, 1503, describing his third voyage, 
of 1501 ; and of a longer letter written equally from 
Lisbon, in September, 1504, to his old school friend 
Pietro Soderini, of Florence, at that time gon- 
faloniere of the republic, in which he described all 
four of the voyages. The original of the first or 
Medici letter is lost, but it was translated into 
Latin and published late in 1503 or early in 1504 
under the title "Mundus Novus." 2 The longer 
letter to Soderini was published at Florence in 1505. 
It dropped out of sight, and only five copies are 
known to be extant. A French version of it, pre- 
pared for Ren6 II., duke of Lorraine, was translated 
into Latin and published in 1507 as an appendix 
to the Cosmo graphiae Introductio of Martin Wald- 
seemiiller, a professor of geography in the College 
of St. Di6, in Lorraine. 

These letters are full of details of the strange 
aspects of nature and of man in the new regions. 

1 Cf. the documents, Navarrete, Viages, III., 291-309. 

1 Quaritch, The First Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci, v. 


They have a confidential and personal note, perhaps 
not unnatural in a private correspondence, which at 
times rises from self-importance to self-exaltation. 
In variety of matter they surpass Columbus' s letters 
about his first voyage and relate of course to a dif- 
ferent field of exploration. In considering their 
extraordinary popularity it is to be remembered 
that Columbus' s own account of his third voyage, 
when he discovered the main-land of South America, 
was not printed till the nineteenth century; nor 
was any description of it printed until 1504, when 
one appeared in the little Venetian collection of 
voyages entitled Libretto de Tutta la Navigatione 
de Re de Spagna de le Isole et Terreni Novamente 
Trovati, translated from the manuscript of Peter 
Martyr's unpublished Oceani Decas. The matter in 
this Libretto was taken over into the Paesi Nova- 
mente Retrovati, a larger collection published in 1507 ; 
and Peter Martyr published his Oceani Decas 
(Decade of the Ocean) in 1511. 

If it is now remembered that Vespucci dated his 
first voyage 1497, and that his account of it was 
presented to the Latin-reading world in 1507, while 
Peter Martyr's brief account of Columbus's voyage 
of 1498 did not get before the Latin-reading world 
till 1508, in the Latin translation of the Paesi 
Novamente Retrovati, it is perfectly clear why the 
fame of Vespucci as the discoverer of continental 
South America eclipsed that of Columbus. Nor 
must it be forgotten that the Latin translation of the 


Medici letter descriptive of equatorial South Ameri- 
ica was being read all over Europe from 1503 on, 
for it is to this narrative more than to the other 
that the greatness of Vespucci's reputation was 

An enumeration of the number of editions which 
were published within the next few years will 
illustrate this fact. There appeared in rapid suc- 
cession fifteen editions of the Latin translation, 
seven editions in German, and one in Flemish. 1 
Down to 1550 forty editions of this Medici letter 
have been recorded. 2 Less numerous were the 
Latin editions of the Soderini letter describing all 
four voyages, yet, as they were appended to small 
treatises or text-books on geography, their influence 
on the rising generation was most marked. 

Outside of Spain Vespucci decidedly eclipsed 
Columbus. In the peninsula the case was different. 
The people among whom he lived and on whose ships 
he sailed knew little or nothing of him. No Portu- 
guese translation of his letters was published until 
1812, and no Spanish one until 1829. Peter Martyr 
just mentions his Brazilian voyages ; Oviedo knows 
him not. Las Casas regards him as an impostor, and 
his view is echoed by Herrera. Hardly less severe 
are the moderns Munoz and Navarrete. In Portu- 
gal, Goes, Barros, and Osorio pass him in silence, 

1 See Fumagalli's bibliography appended to Banditti's Vita 
di Amerigo Vespucci (Uzielli's edition). 

1 Hugues, Raccolta Colombiana, pt.v., II., 139. 


and in the nineteenth century Santarem devoted a 
book to exposing his pretensions. 

The enormous circulation of the Medici letter 
under the title "Novus Mundus," etc., familiarized 
the European public outside of Spain with the -as- 
sociation of Vespucci's name with the New World. 
Impressive, too, was his apparently clear conviction 
that it was a new part of the world and not simply 
the East Indies that had been found. In the very 
beginning he writes of the regions which "we found 
and which may be called a new world (novus mun- 
dus), since our ancestors had no knowledge of them, 
and the matter is most novel to all who hear of it. 
For it goes beyond the ideas of our ancients, most 
of whom said there was no continent below the 
equator and towards the south, or if any of them 
said there was one they declared it must be un- 
inhabited for many reasons. But that this opinion 
is false and altogether contrary to the truth this 
last voyage of mine has made clear. " * Here was a 
positive, clean-cut declaration of the most striking 
character, very different from Columbus's enthusi- 
astic but not altogether convincing identifications 
of Cipango and Cathay in his first letter. 

Yet that it was really in any sense original with 
Vespucci may be questioned. In the first place, 
the Portuguese had proved thirty years earlier that 
equatorial Africa was both habitable and inhabited; 

'Varnhagen, Amerigo Vespucci, 13; Markham, Letters of 
Amerigo Vespucci, 42. 


and opposite D'Ailly's assertion in his Imago Mundi 
that the torrid zone "is uninhabitable on account 
of excessive heat," Columbus had written in the 
margin at least a dozen years before: " It is not 
uninhabitable, because the Portuguese sail through 
it nowadays, and it is, indeed, very thickly in- 
habited; and under the equator is the king of 
Portugal's Castle of Mine, which we have seen." l 
Secondly, the letter of Columbus to Ferdinand and 
Isabella, describing his third voyage, on which he 
discovered the main-land of South America, was 
shown to Hojeda and inspired his voyage of I499, 2 
on which he was accompanied by Vespucci. That 
Vespucci was also familiar with the contents of the 
letter is altogether probable, particularly if he went 
on the voyage, as is supposed, as a government 
agent. In this letter Columbus said of the main- 
land: "Of this half part (of the world) Ptolemy 
had no knowledge"; 3 "if this river does not flow 
from the earthly paradise, it comes and flows from 
a boundless land to the south of which hitherto 
there has been no knowledge"; 4 "now when your 
highnesses have here [i.e., across the Atlantic] an- 
other world" (otro mundo). 6 In the letter to the 
nurse of Prince Juan, Columbus wrote of his third 
voyage: "I undertook a new voyage to the new 
heaven and new world (nuevo cielo e mundo), which 

1 Hugues, Raccolta Colombiana, pt. ii., II., 375. 

2 See above, p. 66. * Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 136. 
*Ibid. t 147. /&*., 148. 


up to that time was concealed " j 1 and again, " where 
by the divine will I have put under the dominion 
of the king and queen, our lords, another world/* 2 

Further indication that this use of the name 
Novus Mundus did not originate with Vespucci is 
afforded by one of the sketch - maps prepared by 
Bartholomew Columbus in 1503, when on the fourth 
voyage, in which the land south of the Mar de 
Caribi is called " Mondo Novo." Some additional 
illustrations of the use and meaning of the terms 
"new world/' "other world/' "West Indies " maybe 
given here in order to clear away in some measure the 
confusion in which the subject has been involved. 8 

The name West Indies was originated by Columbus 
himself and was used by him for the first time in 
document xliii., article iv., of his Book of Privileges, 
written before 1502, in which he refers to " la cali- 
dad de las dichas Yndias ocidentales todo el 
mundo innotas" ("the character of the said West 
Indies unknown to all the world")- 4 

As for the term New World, in one or another 
of its Latin equivalents it was used from the begin- 
ning by Peter Martyr to describe Columbus' s dis- 
coveries. In reality it did not mean a region de- 
tached at all points from the hitherto known world, 
but a new part of the globe not hitherto within the 

1 Major, Select Letters of Columbus, 154. * Ibid., 170. 

1 E.g., in Fiske, Discovery of America, I., 444, n., 515, II., 

4 Spotorno, Codice Diplomatico Colombo- Americano, 286; 
Memorials of Columbus, 215; Thacher, Columbus, II., 530. 


range of European knowledge. The use of it, 
therefore, implies of necessity nothing as to the 
physical connection or disconnection with Asia, but 
simply the fact of situation outside the bounds of 
previous knowledge, just as we say figuratively of a 
man in unfamiliar surroundings, "He found himself 
in a new world. " Thus the Venetian Cadamosto, 
writing of his voyages down the hitherto unex- 
plored coast of Africa in 1455 and 1456, says the 
regions he saw in comparison with Europe might well 
be called "un altro Mondo " ("another world"). 1 
Similarly, after the name had become familiar as 
applied to South America, Francis Serrao, in writing 
to Magellan of the Maluccas, refers to them as 
farther than the antipodes and as being " another 
new world " (" outro novo mundo "). 2 

Peter Martyr uses the phrase "western antipo- 
des " in his letter of May 14, 1493; "new hemi- 
sphere of the earth " in that of September 13, 1493 ' 
he calls Columbus "that discoverer of new world" 
("ille novi orbis repertor") November i, 1493; he 
writes of more wonders from the " New World " 
("Orbe Novo") October 20, 1494; and in December 
of the same year he uses the phrase "Western 
Hemisphere " ("ab occidente hemisperio "). 3 The 
Florentine Simone del Verde, in January, 1499, in 

1 Humboldt, Kritische Untersuchungen, III., 130, n. 
'Barros, Da Asia, dec. III., liv. V., chap. viii. 
8 All these will be found in Thacher's extracts from Peter 
Martyr's Opus Epistolarum, in his Christopher Columbus, I,, 55. 


a letter from Cadiz, remarks that the admiral had 
had great courage and genius in having discovered 
the other world opposite our own ("Taltro mondo 
opposite al nostro ").* That Vespucci's letters first 
gave wide publicity to the discovery of a continental 
region south of the West Indian islands is undeni- 
able ; but that he was the first to recognize this dis- 
covery as such is not true. In fact, his conviction 
may have been simply the fruit of the seed planted 
by Columbus. 

That Columbus believed at the same time that he 
had found islands lying off the eastern coast of Asia 
and also a main-land to the south of these islands 
unknown to the ancients presents no difficulty, 
but rather offers a solution to old -standing per- 
plexities. Many writers have insisted that Colum- 
bus died in ignorance of his real achievement, be- 
lieving that he had discovered the islands off the 
coast of Asia and part of the main-land of that 
continent. Others with equal confidence maintain 
that he realized that he had discovered a new 
world. His own language supports both views, 
and his position and that of his contemporaries 
becomes intelligible enough in the light of the 
interpretation given above of the phrase "new 
world/ 1 if we once realize the striking analogy be- 
tween the relation of Australia to the Malay Peninsula 
and that of South America to the parts of North 

1 Harrisse, Christophe Cohmb, II., 97; Thacher, Columbus, 
I, 63. 


America that Columbus visited. To take an illus- 
tration from a map published after Columbus' s 
death and after the publication of Vespucci* s 
voyages: in Ruysch's map in the Ptolemy of 1508, 
Florida occupies the position of Borneo, Espanola 
of New Guinea, and Mundus Novus of Australia. 1 
In other words, if America and the Pacific had not 
existed and Columbus had done just exactly what he 
supposed he did, he would have discovered Borneo, 
New Guinea, and Australia, and these regions would 
have been called "another world/' and Australia, 
par excellence, "Mundus Novus/' It was only after 
Magellan's voyage across the Pacific that antagonism 
appears between Columbus's different descriptions. 
He did not and could not, nor could any one else, 
divine that vast expanse of waters. 

Returning now to the history of the narrative of 
Vespucci's voyages, with its widely published an- 
nouncement of a hitherto unknown southern con- 
tinental region, we come to the first suggestion to 
attach the Florentine's name to this "Mundus 
Novus/' Martin Waldseemuller, the young pro- 
fessor of geography at the college in St. Di6, who 
published the Soderini letter or narrative of the 
four voyages as an appendix to his Cosmographiae 
Introductio, 1507, when he enumerated the dif- 
ferent parts of the world, wrote: " In the sixth 

1 A sketch of Ruysch's map is given in Fiske, Discovery of 
America, II., 114. A comparison by means of any map on the 
Mercator projection will make clear the points made in the text. 


climate towards the south pole are situated both 
the farthest part of Africa recently discovered, and 
Zanzibar, the islands of lesser Java and Ceylon, 
and the fourth part of the globe which since Amer- 
icus discovered it may be called Amerige i.e., 
Americ's land or America/' " In sexto climate 
Antarcticum versus, et pars extrema Africae nuper 
reperta, et Zamzibar, Java minor et Seula insulae, 
et quarta Orbis pars (quam quia Americus invenit 
Amerigen, quasi Americi terram, sive Americam 
nuncuparc licet) sitae sunt." l 

A little further on, when ready to take up the 
parts of the world unknown to the ancients, he opens 
his account: "Now, indeed, as these regions are 
more widely explored, and another fourth part has 
been discovered by Americus Vesputius, as may be 
learned from the following letters, I do not see 
why any one may justly forbid it to be named 
Amerige that is, Americ's Land, from Americus, 
the discoverer, a man of sagacious mind, or America, 
since both Europe and Asia derived their names 
from women." " Nunc vero et hae partes sunt 
latius lustratae et alia quarta pars per Americum 
Vesputium (ut in sequentibus audietur) inventa est, 
quam non video cur quis jure vetet ab Americo in- 
ventore sagacis ingenii viro Amerigen quasi Americi 
terram sive Americam dicendam cum et Europa et 
Asia a mulieribus sua sortita sint nomina." 2 

1 Fol. 3 b, cited from Kretschmer, Entdeckung Amerikos, 364. 
J Fol. 15 


It will be noted that this young scholar, who in 
the prevailing fashion of the Renaissance had 
dignified his cumbrous family name of Waldsee- 
miiller into the Greco-Latin compound Hylaco- 
mylus (Gr. #\?7, a wood; Lat. lacus, lake; Gr. 
/jLvXos, mill), which effectually concealed his identity 
in later days until it was revealed by Humboldt, 
pursued a similar process in devising the first of the 
two names which he proposed for the New World. 
Amerige is made up of Ameri(ci) and ge, the Greek 
717, land. As an alternative the feminine of Americus 
is suggested by analogy with Asia, Europe, and 

As between Amerige and America euphony soon 
gave the palm to America, and only a writer here and" 
there adopts the former. 1 The same advantage and 
the apt analogy in form to Asia and Africa, ef- 
fectively and indispensably seconded by the rapid 
multiplication of geographies and maps in Germany, 
soon gave America the lead over all its competitors, 
in spite of the recurring sense of the injustice done 
to the memory of Columbus. 

From the time of Schoner, who first made the 
charge in his Opusculum Geographicum, 1533, to the 
time of Humboldt, who completely refuted it, the 
belief was not uncommon that Vespucci had a hand 
in giving his own name to the New World. An 
interesting side-light on this point is thrown by the 

1 E. g., Nicolini del Sabio, in his edition of the Cosmographtce 
Introductio (Venice, 1535); Marcou, Nouvelles Recherches, 44. 


fact that his nephew, Giovanni Vespucci, did not 
adopt the name in the map he made in 1523.* 
Waldseemuller himself, when he became more 
thoroughly acquainted with the real history of the 
first discoveries, quietly dropped the name, and on 
his map of 1513 substituted for it on the main- 
land of South America " Terra Incognita/' with the 
inscription, "This land, with the adjacent islands, 
was discovered by Columbus, a Genoese, under the 
authority of the King of Castile/' 2 

The name America, notwithstanding the activity 
of the German press, made little or no headway in the 
Spanish peninsula, where " The Indies " was the prev- 
alent official name and the one used by historians like 
Oviedo, Las Casas, and Herrera. The first Spanish 
maps to contain the name America were those in the 
Atlas of Lopez (Madrid, 1758).* Murioz, in 1789, 
entitled his work, which was the first really critical 
history according to modern ideas, Historia del 
Nuevo Mundo. Among the other names suggested 
some may be noted. " Atlantis " was proposed by 
the French geographer Postel, 1561, and his example 
was followed among others by Sanson, 1689. 4 

Ortelius (Oertel), in 1571, desiring to do equal 
honor to Columbus and Vespucci, proposed to call 
North America "Columbana" and the southern con- 

1 Hugues, Le Vicende del Nome "America" 29. 

2 Ibid., 1 8. See Kretschmer, Entdeckung Amerikas, Atlas, 
plate 12. 

1 Hugues, Le Vicende del Nome "America" 43. 4 Ibid., 23. 


tinent "America/ 1 On Mercator's globe of 1541 
the name America is stretched over the hemisphere, 
"Ame" being inscribed on the northern and "rica" 
on the southern continent. The names North 
America and South America first appear on the 
maps early in the seventeenth century, in Maginis's 
Ptolemy and Hondius's Atlas. 1 

The first indignant protest against the injustice 
done to Columbus in the application of another's 
name to the New World which he discovered was 
that of the celebrated Michael Servetus in that 
edition of Ptolemy whose unfortunate disagreement 
with the books of Moses as to the fertility of Pales- 
tine was one of the charges the stern Calvin brought 
against his victim. 2 Servetus declared that those 
were entirely mistaken who claimed that this 
continent should be called America, for Americus 
caxne thither much later than Columbus. 8 The 
case was taken up vigorously by Las Casas, who, 
as a friend and admirer of the admiral, felt deeply 
on the subject. 4 Curiously enough, there is no 
reference to the matter in Ferdinand Columbus's 
life of his father, which was written before 1539, 
and probably after the protest of Servetus. It 
would seem as if he died in ignorance of the eclipse 

1 Hugues, Le Vicende del Nome " America" 39. 

1 Humboldt, Kritische Untersuchungen, II., 323. 

1 The passage is quoted in Winsor, Narrative and Critical 
History, II., 176, n. 

4 Las Casas's extensive criticism of Vespucci's narratives is 
given in English in Markham, Vespucci's Letters, 68-108. 


of his father's fame by that of Vespucci in Europe 
outside of Spain. 

The four discoverers Columbus, John Cabot, Se- 
bastian Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci have fared 
variously at the hands of modern historical criticism. 
John Cabot has been raised from almost complete 
obscurity to become a prominent but still shadowy 
figure. Sebastian Cabot has been pulled down from 
the lofty pedestal which he apparently erected for 
himself, his veracity is impugned, his scientific at- 
tainments disputed, and his lack of filial piety ex- 
posed to a glaring light. Around Vespucci the 
storms of controversy have raged for three centuries 
and a half, and he has suffered from them like 
Sebastian Cabot. His claims ^for himself have not 
stood the test. While he has been cleared of 
complicity in having his name attached to the New 
World, it is generally accepted that he antedated 
his first voyage to secure a distinction which did not 
belong to him, and that his narratives unduly exalt 
himself at the expense of others equally entitled to 
honor. The position of Columbus alone has not 
been materially affected by the modern scrutiny 
into his career. Opinion has differed about his 
character, but the record of his achievements has 
been unshaken and the estimate of its significance 
has risen rather than fallen. 



THE New World had proved a source of sur- 
passing interest for Europe, but thus far of 
little wealth for Spain. There was to be sure, after 
nearly ten years of effort, a small importation of 
gold amounting to some 400,000 pesos a year; 1 but 
in the mean time Portugal had reached the Indies 
and their spice markets, while in the west the ships of 
Spain ran up against a mysterious barrier of land 
which at every point baffled further advance. If, 
as Columbus supposed and his view was still 
generally shared this barrier was the extremity of 
Asia, there must be a strait between the tropical 
main-land, or Novus Mundus, of which the ancients 
knew nothing, and this supposed projection of Asia. 
Or if all these new lands were detached from Asia 
there must be a sea beyond which led to the 
spiceries. It was in search of such a passage that the 

1 Under the year 1 506 Herrera estimates the annual product 
at 460,000 pesos (Historic, General, dec. I., lib. VI., chap, xviii.). 
Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 118, puts the annual product 
at 300,000 pesos. The peso d'oro was 450 maravedis, or about 
one-sixth of an ounce, or approximately $3. 



larger part of the coastal exploration of North and 
South America was carried on during the sixteenth 

One of the earliest enterprises of Queen Isabella's 
short-lived successor, Philip I. (1504-1506), was to 
plan in 1506 an elaborate expedition to discover the 
Spice Islands. The energetic and experienced Vi- 
cente Yanez Pinzon was selected to command it, but 
two years, however, elapsed before it finally got off 
(June 29, 1508).* Pinzon was accompanied by Juan 
Diaz de Solis and Pedro de Ledesma. Starting from 
Cuba, he coasted along its southern shore till he 
rounded the western end, thus proving it to be an 
island. 2 Before Pinzon returned, however, it was 
officially circumnavigated by Sebastian de Ocampo, 
1508.* From thence they struck across the Gulf of 
Mexico to the scene of Columbus's fourth voyage, 
the Bay of Honduras. From Honduras Pinzon and 
Solis went carefully over the coast-line of Central 
and South America as far as the fortieth degree 
south latitude, the longest continuous voyage that 
had then been made in American waters. 4 

1 Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 731. 

2 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 181 (ed. of 1574). 
8 Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. VII., chap. i. 

4 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 181-185; Herrera, 
Historia General, dec. L, lib. VII., chap. ix. ; Peschel, Zeitalter 
der Entdeckungen, 335, 336. In Errera, UEpoca delle Grandi 
Scoperte, 304, 305, and Winship, Cabot Bibliography, xvii. and 
No. 342, will be found the reasons for supposing that Sebastian 
Cabot explored the northern coast of North America in 1508 
in charge of an English expedition. 


The next advance in knowledge of American 
geography was to come from the establishment of 
the first permanent settlements on the main-land, 
undertaken at their own expense by the indefatiga- 
ble Hojeda and by Diego de Nicuesa, a planter who 
had acquired wealth and prominence in Espanola. 
Hojeda was granted the coast from Cape Vela to the 
Gulf of Urabd under the name of New Andalusia. 
Nicuesa received the Isthmus of Panama and the 
coast beyond to Cape Gracias & Dios, the eastern 
point of Honduras, and the name Castilla del Oro 1 
(Golden Castile) was given to the region. Hojeda 
started in November, 1509, in four ships, with three 
hundred men and twelve horses. With him were 
the veteran Juan de la Cosa, and a new adventurer 
whose achievements were to inscribe his name high 
in the roll of explorers and conquerors, Francisco 

Effecting a landing where later stood the city of 
Cartagena, with customary rashness Hojeda made 
a dash into the territory of hostile natives to get 
some slaves to sell to meet his expenses. 2 Their 
fierce resistance with poisoned arrows cost him some 
seventy men, including Juan de la Cosa. 8 and al- 
most his own life. Forsaking this inhospitable 
region, he moved on to the west, and at the extreme 

1 This name King Ferdinand transferred in 1513 to that por- 
tion of the northern part of South America commonly called 
Tierra-Firme and usage subsequently followed his mandate. 
Navarrete, Vfages, III., 337- 

*Las Casas, Historic*, III., 290. * Ibid., 393. 


end of his territory built a fort, which he called 
St. Sebastian, to enlist the saint's protection against 
the death-dealing arrows that rained upon them. 1 

The appeal was vain. A few days later, for the 
first time in his life, Hojeda was wounded, an arrow 
piercing his thigh. By promptly cauterizing the 
wound with white-hot iron plates he escaped death 
this time, but his fortunes were declining. His 
band of followers had wasted from three hundred 
to sixty, and it was necessary for him to go to 
Espanola for supplies. After extraordinary hard- 
ships he reached Santo Domingo only to die broken 
and penniless. 2 

Nicuesa's superior resources, personal attractive- 
ness, and the more alluring premise of the region of 
Veragua brought together a large force of seven 
hundred men and six horses in five ships and two 
brigantines, which set sail from Santo Domingo 
about ten days after Hojeda. 8 

But his fate was equally hapless. After a long 
search for Veragua, during which he was wrecked, 
Nicuesa resolved to transfer his settlement farther 
east, and fixed upon a spot near the present 
town of Aspinwall, which he called Nombre de 
Dios. The climate, the lack of food, and their 
arduous labors rapidly thinned the little colony 
down to sixty men. 

As if to rescue them from extinction, two vessels 

1 Las Casas, Historia, III., 298. * Ibid., 301-310. 

1 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 33 6 ~33 8 - 


belonging to Nicuesa loaded with supplies appeared 
in November, 1510, under the command of Roderigo 
de Colmenares. From him Nicuesa learned of the 
failure of Hojeda, and that his own colonists had 
moved across the Gulf of Urabd from St. Sebastian 
to Darien, where gold had been found and a fairly 
prosperous settlement established. As this lay 
within the boundaries of Nicuesa's province he 
naturally expected to exercise authority over the 
inhabitants, but they refused submission and the 
unhappy governor was forced to set sail for Spain 
with only seventeen men in a rotten brigantine, an 
alternative to instant death. Nothing was ever 
heard of him again. 1 

The struggle for existence after Hojeda's depart- 
ure had brought to the front in his colony Vasco 
Nunez de Balboa, a man of great resourcefulness 
and courage, whose career if not so early cut off 
might have anticipated that of Pizarro. He had 
been a planter in Espanola, but the spirit of ad- 
venture was strong and the burden of his debts op- 
pressive; hence, when Hojeda's lieutenant, the 
lawyer Enciso, was about to sail for Tierra-Firme, 
Balboa, not being able to evade his creditors other- 
wise, had himself nailed up in a barrel and put on 
board with the provisions. 2 It was at his suggestion 
that the colonists moved over to Darien, and thence- 
forth he was a leader. 8 

1 Las Casas, Historia, III., 329-346. 

m., 313. 


Balboa's activities embraced an energetic cam- 
paign against the natives for provisions, and an 
offensive and defensive alliance with one of the 
native rulers, including the taking of his daughter to 
wife. A joint expedition followed against the 
enemies of this chief, and then a foregathering with 
one of his allies at some distance to the west, who 
gave the Spaniards about fifty pounds of gold, 
worth nearly $12,000. As they were measuring it 
out and wrangling over it the eldest of the seven 
sons of this allied chief lost his patience, dashed the 
scales from their hands, and rebuked them for their 
greed, adding: "I will shewe you a region flowing 
with golde where you may satisfie your ravening 
appetites. . . . When you are passing over these 
mountains (poynting with his finger towarde the 
south mountaines) you shall see another sea where 
they sayle with ships as big as yours. M1 

Balboa was not able at this time to verify these 
assertions, but in the summer of 1513, upon re- 
ceiving the news that a new governor was coming 
out from Spain to render judgment upon him, he re- 
solved to forward his own cause as far as possible 
by a brilliant stroke. With a picked body of one 
hundred and ninety Spaniards and several hundred 
Indian porters and dogs he set out September i 

1 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 151; Eden's translation 
from Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 229, 230, Las Casas follows Peter 
Martyr's account, which was derived from Colmenares and 
Quicedo (also spelled Caicedo)upon their return from the Isthmus. 
De Rebus Occanicis, 176; Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 240. 


to discover the sea of which the Indians had told 
him. Although the isthmus is only about forty- 
five miles wide at the place he tried to cross, and 
the ridges on the average only about a thousand 
feet high, 1 yet so dense is the tropical forest that 
gloom reigns almost perpetual. Impenetrable 
thickets, tangled swamps, slippery cliffs, enormous 
trees, and interlacing vines block the way at every 
turn. 2 After a most arduous progress of eighteen 
days, a wonderful achievement as modern ex- 
plorers have found out, at about ten o'clock in the 
morning of September 25, 1513, Balboa reached the 
ridge from the summits of which " he might see the 
other sea so long looked for, and never seene before 
of any man comming out of our worlde." 8 This 
dramatic moment may best be described in the 
words of Peter Martyr, whose account is based on 
Balboa's letters. 4 

"Approching therefore to the tops of the moun- 
taines, he commanded his armie to stay, and went 
himselfe alone to the toppe, as it were to take pos- 
session thereof, where, falling prostrate upon the 
grounde, and raysing himselfe againe upon his 
knees, lyfting up his eyes and handes toward 
heaven he hales the South and powred forth his 

1 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 370, 371. 
1 Prevost in 1853 found the forest so dense that for eleven 
days they did not see the clear sky. Ibid., 371. 

Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 210; Hakluyt, Voyages, 

V., 255. 
Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicts, 205. 


boundless gratitude to God and all the Heavenly 
Host who had reserved the prize of so great a thing 
unto him being a man but of small wit and knowl- 
edge, of little experience, and lowly parentage. 
When he had thus made his prayers after his war- 
like manner, hee beckoned with his hande to his 
companions to come to him, showing them the great 
maine sea heretofore unknowne to the inhabitants 
of Europe, Aphrike, and Asia." 1 Four days later, 
upon the shore of the bay which he named San 
Miguel, he waited the rising tide. When the billows 
came rolling in over the flats he rushed in, flourished 
his sword, and took possession of the sea with a 
ringing proclamation. 

Eight years passed after Columbus unlocked the 
bars of the Ocean Sea before he was sent to Spain in 
irons. The star of Balboa sank more rapidly. In 
four years he was relentlessly put to death by a 
jealous and suspicious governor, Pedrarias Davila.* 
Columbus's work was really done; the career of 
Balboa was in its beginning. He had made the 
most important discovery since the third voyage of 
the admiral, and he had displayed qualities as a 
leader thus far unequalled by any of the con- 
quistadores. He was not only a considerate and 
inspiring commander of Spaniards, but, in addition, 
he showed extraordinary ability in dealing with the 

1 Eden's translation in Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 255, here slightly 
changed to a closer conformity to the original. 

2 The name is sometimes written Pedro Arias de Avila. 


natives. By a judicious mingling of severity with 
tact he won the friendship of the chieftains and 
the attachment of the tribesmen. Had he lived 
they would have been spared countless horrors, and 
he might have anticipated either Pizarro or Cort6s. 1 
Could his discovery have been reported a little 
sooner, Pedrarias Davila, whose jealousy brought 
him to ruin, would hardly have been appointed, and 
the history of the main-land of South America might 
have been very different. 

The news of Balboa's discovery of the great sea 
beyond the main-land reached Spain soon after the 
departure of Pedrarias in April, 1514, and imme- 
diately aroused the greatest interest. A despatch 
was promptly forwarded to the new governor of 
Castilla del Oro to establish a settlement on the 
shores of the Gulf of San Miguel and to build three 
or four caravels for making a thorough exploration 
of the coast of the South Sea. King Ferdinand next 
turned to the veteran navigator Solis, the ablest 
sailor in Spain 2 now that Pinzon had retired, and 
familiar with the South American coast from his 
great voyage six years before; and on November 
12, 1514, gave him a commission to take three 
ships, one of seventy tons and two of thirty tons, 
with seventy men and provisions for two years and 
a half, to go to explore the waters beyond Golden 
Castile (the isthmus) to the distance of seventeen 

1 Cf. Markham, Narrative of Pascual de Andagoya, ii., iii. 

2 Herrera, Historia General, dec. II., lib. I., chap. vii. 


hundred leagues, or more if possible, yet without 
intruding upon any of the lands of the king of 
Portugal. 1 This voyage, if brought to a successful 
issue, must find the long-sought strait, the much- 
desired western route to the Spice Islands, and settle 
the vexed problem whether or no the New World 
was adjacent to the eastern verge of Asia. 

The voyage proceeded with hopeful prospects 
until the discovery of the broad estuary of the 
later Rio de la Plata, which they called the "Mar 
Dulce " (Fresh Sea). The shores were inhabited, 
and Solis, expecting to find the natives friendly, 
landed with seven companions. No sooner had 
they landed than " sodenly a great multitude of the 
inhabitantes burst forth upon them, and slue every 
man with clubbes even in the sight of their fellowes. 
. . . They cut the slayne men in peeces," preparing 
to eat them. " Their companions being stricken 
with feare through this example, durst not come 
foorth of their shippes or devise how to revenge the 
death of their Captayne and companions. They 
departed therefore from these unfortunate coastes, 
and by the way lading their shyppes with Brasell, 
returned home agayne with losse, and heavie 
cheare." 2 

The goal at which Solis had aimed was already in 
the hands of the Portuguese. They reached Malacca, 

1 Navarrete, Viages, III., 134. 

2 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, 316-318; Hakluyt, 
Voyages, V., 307. Based on the accounts of the survivors. 

ii 4 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1509 

the great emporium of all eastern Asiatic commerce, 
in 1509. Two years later the city fell before the 
Portuguese viceroy Alfonso d' Albuquerque. This 
splendid conquest was announced by the king of 
Portugal to Pope Leo X. in glowing language al- 
most exactly twenty years after the news of 
Columbus's first voyage. The long race had been 
run and the glittering prize of such unparalleled 
efforts was at last in the hands of King Emmanuel : 
"The Golden Chersonese, called Malacha by the in- 
habitants, situated between the Gangetic and the 
Great Gulf, a city of wonderful size with upwards of 
twenty-five thousand households, the land most 
fertile and most productive of merchandise in India 
by means of that most famous market where not 
only abound the different spices and all kinds of 
perfumes, but also gold and silver, pearls and 
precious stones.' 11 To seal this conquest, Albu- 
querque despatched a fleet under Antonio d'Abreu 
in December, 1511, to the Spice Islands them- 
selves, which lay farther to the east. Early in 
1512 Abreu visited in turn Amboina and Banda, 
and, loading with cloves, returned to Malacca. 

1 Translated from the Latin text in Roscoe, Leo X. 9 I., 521, 
522 (London, 1846). 




THE revelatioji that the islands where spices 
grew lay some fifty degrees of longitude to the 
east of Calicut could not fail to revive the old 
Columbian project to reach them by sailing west. 
That it was now again first proposed to the king 
of Portugal, rejected by him, laid before the king 
of Spain, and under his patronage at last brought to a 
successful issue by a Portuguese sailor, is one of those 
"artistries in circumstance " * which give its infinite 
variety to history and baffle all efforts to reduce 
its course to the regulated bounds of discernible 
natural law. 

Fernao de Magalhaes was born in the interior of 
Portugal of a family of the lesser nobility, about the 
year 1480. Early transplanted to the capital, he 
became a page of Queen Leonora, but at the acces- 
sion of King Emmanuel in 1495 he passed into his 
service. In the impressionable years of his early 
manhood he saw the return of Da Gama from India. 

1 Hardy, The Dynasts, i. 


Then came the equipment of great fleets for the 
Indies, the discovery of Brazil and its exploration. 
No wonder that the youth sought service in the far 
East and joined the great expedition of Almeida 
in 1505. In this service Magellan, to adopt for 
convenience this anglicized form of the name, re- 
mained for seven years, during which he visited 
Malacca and took part in its conquest in 1511. 
His return to Portugal soon followed, and next 
came a campaign or two in Morocco. 1 

Africa was a " pent-up Utica" compared with the 
Indies, and the letters which Magellan received from 
his intimate friend Francisco de Sarrao, who pene- 
trated still farther East, and was living in the 
Molucca islands and writing of " another new world 
larger and richer than that found by Vasco da 
Gama," 2 hardened to a fixed purpose the project 
to seek the Spice Islands by the west. The de- 
cisive moment came when King Emmanuel denied 
Magellan's request for promotion and a slight in- 
crease in his stipend, and rejected his proposal for 
the western voyage. 8 Magellan was not the man 
to sit quiet with a great idea in his head. If the 
door was closed against him in Portugal he would 
find an opening elsewhere. 

Hence he went to Seville in 1517, and, taking out 
naturalization papers, became a subject of Charles L, 

1 Guillemard, Life of Magellan, 17 ff. * Ibid., 71. 

1 That Magellan made such a proposal is an inference. Ibid. t 
81, 8*. 


more familiarly known under his imperial title as 
Charles V. He soon found an opportunity to lay 
his plan before the officials of the Casa de Con- 
tractacion, or India House. He told them that 
Malacca and Maluco (the Moluccas), "the islands in 
which cloves grow, belonged to the emperor on 
account of the demarcation line." l They assent- 
ed, but replied that it was impossible to go thither 
without trespassing within the demarcation of the 
king of Portugal. Magellan asserted that he could 
go thither without touching the seas or land of the 
king of Portugal. 

The officials shelved the matter, but after pro- 
longed effort Magellan was able to have an interview 
with the youthful king and his immediate advisers, 
Maximilianus Transylvanus, the earliest historian 
of the expedition, describes the interview with 
Charles as follows: "They both showed Caesar that 
though it was not yet quite sure whether Malacca 
was within the confines of the Spaniards or the 
Portuguese, because as yet nothing of the longitude 
had been clearly proved, yet that it was quite 
plain that the Great Gulf and the people of Sinae 
[China] lay within the Spanish boundary. This, too, 
was held to be most certain, that the islands which 
they call the Moluccas, in which all the spices are 
produced, and are thence exported to Malacca,, 
lay within the Spanish western division, and that 

1 Lord Stanley's version of the extracts from Correa, Lendas 
da India, in his First Voyage Round the World, 245. 


it was possible to sail there; and that spices could 
be brought thence to Spain more easily, and at less 
expense and cheaper, as they came direct from their 
native place/ 1 1 

The historian Las Casas was present in Valladolid 
when Magellan came thither to present his plan to 
the king, and he records a conversation with him. 
" Magellan had," he writes, "a well-painted globe 
in which the whole world was depicted, and on it 
he indicated the route he proposed to take, saving 
that the strait was left purposely blank so that 
no one should anticipate him. And on that day 
and at that hour I was in the office of the high 
chancellor when the bishop [Fonseca] brought it 
[i.e., the globe] and showed the high chancellor the 
voyage which was proposed, and speaking with 
Magellan I asked him what way he planned to take, 
and he answered that he intended to go by Cape 
Saint Mary, which we call the Rio de la Plata, 
and from thence to follow the coast up until he hit 
upon the strait. ' But suppose you do not find any 
strait by which you can go into the other sea?' 
He replied that if he didn't find any strait that he 
would go the way the Portuguese took. . . . This 
Hernando de Magallanes must have been a man 
of courage and valiant in his thoughts and for 
undertaking great things, although he was not 
of imposing presence because he was small in 

1 Lord Stanley, First Voyage Round the World, 187; Blair and 
Robertson, The Philippine Islands, I., 


stature and did not appear in himself to be 
much." l 

The appeal to the sovereign was successful, and in 
a few days (March 22, 1518) Magellan received a 
patent under which the king was to equip five 
ships with provisions for two years for the ex- 
pedition, upon the condition that it was to be within 
" the limits which belong to us in the ocean within the 
bounds of our demarcation/' 2 No sooner had the 
preliminary arrangements been completed than the 
most strenuous efforts were made by the Portuguese 
minister in behalf of his sovereign to prevent the 
expedition; but Charles was firm and Magellan re- 
fused to give way to appeals or threats. 

The fleet prepared for this momentous enterprise 
consisted of the San Antonio, of one hundred and 
fifty tons burden ; the Trinidad, of one hundred and 
ten tons ; the Conception, ninety tons ; the Victoria, 
eighty-five tons; and the Santiago, seventy-five tons. 
It was far from easy to get together the crews, and 
when the list was finally made up it was singularly 
cosmopolitan. In this great world -voyage nearly 
all the seafaring peoples were represented: besides 
Spaniards and Portuguese, there were Basques, 
"Genoese, Sicilians, French, Flemings, Germans, 
Greeks, Neapolitans, Corfiotes, Negroes, and Ma- 
lays; one Englishman, Master Andrew, of Bristol; 8 

1 Las Casas, Historic,, IV., 376, 377. 

2 Navarrete, Viages, IV., 116-121. 
1 Guillemard, Magellan, 137. 


natives of the Azores, Madeira, and Canary Islands ; 
and at least two of American birth and partly of 
American blood. 1 The total equipment numbered 
about two hundred and seventy men. On board 
were several young men who went to see the 
world, among whom, fortunately for posterity, was 
the Italian Antonio Pigafetta, whose journal of his 
experiences and observations is our best history 
of the expedition. 

Finally, on Tuesday, September 20, 1519, the 
little fleet weighed anchor and set sail from the 
harbor of San Lucar de Barrameda. The earlier 
part of the voyage was without startling incident 
save for an ominous clash with some of the captains, 
who questioned the wisdom of Magellan 's course, 
and were obviously restive under the authority of 
a Portuguese. 2 Reaching the coast of Brazil near 
Pernambuco, they followed it south till they found 
(January n) the mouth of the great river where 
Magellan's forerunner Solis had met his death. 
This was carefully examined, and from thence to the 
south not an inlet was overlooked. It was a slow 
process, and the name "Bahia de los Trabajos" 
(Bay of Labors) attached to one of the indentations 
on that bleak shore records its tedium and dif- 

Cold weather was now approaching, and Magellan 
decided, March 31, 1520, to spend the winter in Port 

1 Guillemard, Magellan, 154, n. 

1 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 492. 


St. Julian, in latitude forty-nine degrees south. The 
region was almost uninhabited, and the climate as 
well as the latitude corresponded to that of southern 
Newfoundland. It was the first attempt in history 
on the part of an exploring expedition to winter 
in a high latitude, 1 and the prospect to Magellan's 
associates was forbidding. They urged a return to 
Spain, satisfied with having carried the exploration 
of the coast beyond previous navigators. This 
was a natural attitude for ordinary men, especially 
as they were now fifteen degrees farther south than 
the Cape of Good Hope ; but Magellan was not an 
ordinary man. He was bound to accomplish his 
purpose at any cost. He assured his commanders 
that although winter was upon them it could be 
weathered, and that it would be easy to succeed in 
the summer of that region, where, if they continued 
their course beyond the south, "the whole of its 
summer would be one perpetual day." 2 He further 
reminded them that the greater the difficulties the 
greater the reward. 

Far from being reassured, the commanders con- 
spired. On the night of April i Captain Quesada, 
of the Conception, with a body of armed men board- 
ed the San Antonio, at that time commanded by 
Mesquita, a cousin of Magellan, overpowered him 
and put him in irons. Captain Mendoza, of the 

1 Gtinther, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 77. 
1 Maximilianus Transylvanus, in Lord Stanley, First Voyage 
Round the World, 193. 


Victoria, sided with the mutineers, whode plan was 
to take control of the fleet and return to Spain. 
Magellan woke to find three ships in their control. 
Open force would be hopeless; to give in would be 
humiliation and failure; to go on with the little 
Santiago was out of the question. With instant 
resolution Magellan risked all in a single stroke. 
Having retained the boat of the San Antonio, which 
brought the terms that the rebellious captains 
offered, he used it to despatch Gonzalo Gomez, the 
alguacil, with a written order to Mendoza to come 
on board Magellan's ship. Gomez and his five com- 
panions bore concealed weapons. When Mendoza 
refused to obey the order he was instantly stabbed 
by Gomez in the neck and struck down dead by 
one of his companions. At almost the same 
moment the vessel was boarded and carried with 
a rush by Magellan's brother-in-law Barbosa and 
fifteen picked men, the crew making little re- 
sistance ; and the day was won ! 

With the recovery of the Victoria the odds now 
were three to two against the mutineers, with 
Magellan blocking their exit from the harbor. 
During the night the San Antonio, dragging her 
anchors, bore down upon Magellan's ships. The 
Trinidad opened fire and grappled her, and she was 
boarded from both the Trinidad and the Victoria. 
Without loss of life the San Antonio was recovered. 
There was now no hope for Juan de Cartagena, on the 
Conception, and he surrendered. The next day the 


body of Mendoza was quartered, and then the living 
mutineers were tried and forty found guilty and 
condemned to death. Magellan pardoned all but 
three of the ringleaders. Quesada was beheaded, 
and when the fleet left the bay in the August follow- 
ing Juan de Cartagena and the priest Sanchez were 
put ashore. After this grim crisis Magellan's au- 
thority was unquestioned. 1 

After four months and a half of waiting a new 
start was made August 24, 1520. During this 
period the sprightly Pigafetta had not failed to make 
many interesting observations of the wandering 
bands of natives whose immense footprints suggest- 
ed to Magellan the name " Patagones " ("big feet"). 
Their unusual stature led the Italian to call them 
giants ; and the quaint name of their devil god, to 
whom they cried in anger or terror, which he records, 
gave Shakespeare his Setebos, to whom Caliban 
appeals in " The Tempest." 2 The season, however, 
was not advanced enough for pushing farther south, 
and another tarry of two months followed in the 
mouth of the Santa Cruz. By October 18 the 
weather invited a renewal of the search, and on the 
2ist the entrance to the looked-for westward strait 
was discovered. 

Threading its windings and exploring its branches 
took thirty-eight days, but they were days of 
excitement and expectation, as hitherto unknown 

1 Guillemard , Magellan t 163-174. 

* Pigafetta, in Lord Stanley, First Voyage Round the World, 53. 


wonders of nature were revealed from hour to 
hour. Magellan found himself in a great cut some 
three hundred and twenty -five miles long and 
from two to five miles wide. For the first half of 
the distance it runs southwesterly through a region 
of pampas ; then it turns to the northwest and cuts 
through the ridge of the lower Andes. Lofty 
precipices rising several thousand feet, snow-topped, 
forest-clad mountains, vast glaciers, tempestuous 
winds rushing down the- mountain-sides like ava- 
lanches, fathomless depths of black water beneath, 
long antarctic days, new and strange forms of life, 
the great issues at stake all combined to make the 
first passage of the Straits of Magellan one of the 
most thrilling of human experiences. That the strain 
told even on Magellan's " heaH of triple bronze" l 
is clear from Pigafetta's record of the announce- 
ment brought back by a reconnoitring party "that 
they had found the cape and the sea great and 
wide. At the joy which the captain-general had 
at this he began to cry, and he gave the name 
of Cape of Desire to this cape, as a thing which 
had been much desired for a long time." 2 

Yet anxiety was mixed with joy, for Estevan 
Gomez, with the San Antonio, during the passage of 
the strait, had slipped away to return to Spain, and 
no trace of him could be found. As they entered 
the ocean again they were so favored with quiet 

1 John Fiske, Discovery of America, II., 204. 

1 Pigafetta,in Lord Stanley, First Voyage Round the World, 60. 


waters and fair winds that the name " Mare Pacifi- 
cum" (" Peaceful Sea ") was bestowed upon it. 
Fortunate, indeed, was it that this vast expanse of 
waters deserved this name, otherwise these first 
venturers upon its bosom must have perished. 
Columbus found land approximately where he 
expected to; Magellan pursued his way for weeks 
over a pathless sea about whose width nothing was 
known and all conjectures were hopelessly wrong. 
That he faced an ocean more than twice as wide as 
the Atlantic or Indian oceans he could have no 
intimation, for no one suspected the existence of 
such a mass of water on the globe. 

As the weeks rolled by the provisions gave out, 
and nothing was left but wormy crumbs. The 
water was thick and yellow. In their want, the 
weatherworn ox-hides with which the main-yard 
was covered to prevent chafing were soaked in the 
sea for days and then broiled; and rats were sold 
for half a ducat apiece. 1 Twice their hopes were 
raised by sight of land, but it was only small coral 
islands which were uninhabited save by birds. 

March 6, 1521, they discovered a group of isl- 
ands which they called the "Ladrones" (Robbers), 
because the natives were so thievish. Securing 
some provisions, they proceeded, and on March 16 
sighted the island of Samar of the now familiar 
Philippines. That they had reached the outlying 

1 Pigafetta, in Lord Stanley, First Voyage Round the World, 65; 
Guillemard, Magellan, 221. 


portions of the Asiatic world was evident a few 
days later when Magellan's Malay slave Enrique, of 
Malacca, was able to make himself understood. But 
Magellan's triumph was to be short-lived: in a 
little over a month he fell in a battle with the natives 
on the island of Matan. He was denied the proud 
and happy moments enjoyed by Columbus upon 
his return, but he was also spared the agony of 
declining fortunes. 

Columbus and Magellan are the great figures of 
this heroic age in American history, but though their 
lives overlapped a quarter of a century, they really 
belong to different ages. There was none of the 
prophetic mysticism of Columbus in the make-up 
of the great Portuguese. Magellan was distinctly a 
man of action, instant, resolute, enduring. The 
first voyage across the Atlantic broke down the 
barriers of the ages and was a sublime act of faith ; 
but the first navigation of the Straits of Magellan 
was a far more difficult problem of seamanship than 
crossing the Atlantic. More than half of the 
English and Dutch navigators who later attempted 
it towards the end of the sixteenth century gave it 
up and turned back. 1 Columbus's voyage was 
over in thirty-five days; but Magellan's expedition 
had been gone a year and weathered a subarctic 
winter before its real task began the voyage over 
a trackless waste of waters exactly three times as 
long as the first crossing of the Atlantic. For 

1 Ruge, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 474. 


these and other similar reasons it seems to be the 
mature judgment of the historians of the dis- 
coveries that Magellan is to be ranked as the first 
navigator of ancient or modern times, and his 
voyage the greatest single human achievement on 
the sea. 1 

The rest of the voyage lay for the most part over 
a region already traversed by the Portuguese. 
A few days after Magellan's death his two suc- 
cessors in command, Barbosa, his brother-in-law, and 
his faithful friend Joao Serrao, with several com- 
panions, were treacherously killed by the natives. 
The numbers were now reduced to about one hun- 
dred and fifteen men, and they decided to leave the 
unseaworthy Conception and to proceed with the 
Victoria and the Trinidad. After leaving the 
Philippines they touched on the west coast of 
Borneo, then turned back and went down to the 
Moluccas. Here they loaded with spices, refitted, 
and started on the long return, the Victoria across 
the Indian Ocean and up the coast of Africa, the 
Trinidad for Panama across the Pacific, an attempt 
which had to be given up because little headway 
could be made against the trade winds. Of the 
fifty-four who set sail with her only nineteen sur- 
vived when the voyage 3 was finally given up ; and 

1 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 526; Guillemard, Magel- 
lan, 258; Gunther, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 76; Lord Stanley, 
First Voyage Round the World, p. xlvi. 

2 Guillemard, Magellan, 302. 


only four of these ever saw Spain again, and that 
after years of captivity. 1 

On the Victoria there was much suffering from 
cold and later from lack of food ; and under absolute 
necessity a stop was made at the Cape Verd Islands. 
There it leaked out that the weather-worn navi- 
gators were returning from India with spices, and 
the Portuguese held a boat-load of the sailors as 
captives. The Victoria herself barely escaped with 
the scanty number of eighteen Europeans and four 
natives. At last, after an absence of three years 
lacking thirteen days, on September 7, 1522, they 
arrived at San Lucar and two days later at Seville. 
In response to the urgent request of the emperor the 
men detained at the Cape Verd Islands were sent 
home by the Portuguese, and then the emperor 
received at court the thirty-one who had been round 
the world. Sebastian del Cano, the commander, 
was given five hundred ducats, and granted a coat 
of arms surmounted by a globe bearing the sublime 
legend " Primus circumdedisti Me " (" First thou didst 
encompass me"). Of the two hundred and thirty- 
nine men who started probably about eighty re- 
turned from the Straits with the San Antonio; 2 of the 
remainder, perhaps one hundred and sixty in number, 
only thirty-six ever saw home again. 3 Yet the 
financial results were such as to tempt other voyages, 
for the cargo of spices brought by the little Victoria, 

1 Guillemard, Magellan., 306. 

2 Ibid., 267. 3 Ibid., 33 6 ~339- 

i 3 o SPAIN IN AMERICA [1522 

consisting principally of twenty-six tons of cloves, 
exceeded in value the total net cost of the expedition. 1 

Among the novel experiences of going round the 
world is the gain or loss of a day. As the Victoria 
went round to the west, those on board saw the sun 
rise once less than those who stayed at home. This 
was first noticed upon their arrival at the Cape 
Verd Islands on Wednesday, July 9, as they sup- 
posed, but really on Thursday, July 10, as they 
were assured by the Portuguese. The discovery 
was alarming, for none could tell how many fasts had 
been violated or saints' days neglected. Absolution 
was sought and obtained, but the explanation of the 
problem apparently was beyond the historian Peter 
Martyr, who tried to convince the men they had 
miscounted or forgotten that 1520 was a leap year, 
and so lost the 29th of February; but, no, they 
insisted that no mistake had been made. Finally, 
Caspar Contarini, the Venetian ambassador, gave the 
true solution, 2 which curiously enough was perfectly 
familiar to the Arabian geographer Abulfeda two 
centuries earlier. 3 

The approach to the Spice Islands from the east 
and the assertion that they lay within the Spanish 
field of discovery by the demarcation line pre- 
cipitated a controversy which lasted several years. 
After some preliminary negotiations it was agreed 

1 Guilletnard , Magellan ,310. 

2 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, dec. V., lib. VII. 
1 Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 530. 


to hold a scientific congress made up on each side 
of three astronomers and three pilots as scientific 
experts, and of three lawyers as judges of docu- 
mentary proofs. This body, known as the Badajos 
Junta, held its opening session April n, 1524, on 
the bridge over the Caya River, the boundary 
between Spain and Portugal, meeting thereafter al- 
ternately in Badajos and Yelves until May 31. 
But nothing came of the congress, for the lawyers 
could not agree as to the priority of possession, nor 
the scientific experts as to the longitude of the 
Moluccas or the proper location of the demarcation 
line. 1 

King Charles then sent out an expedition to the 
islands under Loaysa, which met with many dis- 
asters. The difficulty of navigating the straits was 
such that it took Loaysa four months to make the 
passage. It was not discovered until 1616 that 
Cape Horn could be rounded. When the survivors 
reached their goal they could neither go on nor 
return. The stubbornness with which the king 
of Portugal maintained his claims to the islands, the 
impossibility of a scientific and exact determination 
of the demarcation line in the absence of accurate 
means for measuring longitude, and the pressure of 
financial needs led Charles V. in 1529 to relinquish 
all claims to or rights to trade with the Moluccas 

1 Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, 209-211; the opinions 
are extracted in Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands, 
I., 165-221. 

i 3 2 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1529 

for three hundred and fifty thousand ducats; and to 
accept a new demarcation line in the antipodes 
drawn north and south seventeen degrees on the 
equator east of the Moluccas. This agreement in 
reality renounced all claim to the Philippines, but 
this feature of the treaty was subsequently vio- 
lated or ignored by Spain. 1 

The scientific results of Magellan's voyage were 
far more important than the political advantages 
derived from it. Once for all it gave a practical 
demonstration of the sphericity of the earth that 
convinced the ordinary mind unreached by the 
scientific proofs, It revolutionized all ideas as to 
the relative proportions of the land and water of the 
globe, and dissipated the traditional error on which 
Columbus's voyages and his whole geographical 
system were based, that the area of the land far 
exceeded that of the water. The vast width of the 
Pacific revealed that America was a new world in a 
more comprehensive sense than had been suspected. 
That America was entirely detached from Asia 
was not definitely proved until the voyage of 
Vitus Bering, in 1728, through the strait named for 

1 Bourne, "Historical Introduction" to Blair and Robertson, 
The Philippine Islands, I., 29, 30. For the important articles of 
the treaty, see ibid., 223-239. 





AFTER the complete subjection of the Indians 
and the first excitements of gold - hunting in 
Espanola, sugar-planting and stock-raising were too 
tame to satisfy the more adventurous of the settlers, 
and so with the restlessness of the true pioneer they 
sought more excitement and quicker profits in slave- 
hunting raids to the Bahamas, in the colonization of 
other islands, or in the exploration of waters not yet 
visited. These ventures form the prologue to the 
conquest of Mexico and the exploration of North 

Juan Ponce de Leon, the discoverer of Florida, 
one of the most picturesque of the adventurers who 
sought their fortune in America, came over with 
the first colonists in 1493. I n I S4 he proved 
himself a valiant and efficient officer in the Indian 
war in Higuey, at the eastern end of Espanola, 
and was appointed provincial governor by Ovando. 
Hearing from Indians that there was gold in the 
fair island on the eastern horizon, - Boriquen, or 


San Juan de Puerto Rico, he secured permission 
from Ovando to explore it and to open up trade 
with the Indians. 1 Later, in 1509, at Ovando's 
request he was appointed governor of the island. 

After his removal from that office in February, 
1512, he secured a patent from the king authorizing 
him to discover and colonize the island of " Beniny " 
(Bimine), vague rumors of which had come to 
Spanish ears during slave raids in the Bahamas. 2 
An incidental object in this enterprise, which has 
been usually considered the primary purpose, was 
to verify the Indian tradition of a spring or river 
whose waters would restore youth *to the aged. 
Of this there is no hint in the patent, nor, apparently, 
in the narrative of the voyage which Herrera seems 
to have had before him; 8 yet to the prevalence of 
the legend the testimony is abundant, 4 and the story 
probably directed Ponce de Leon to Bimine in 
particular rather than to the lands north of Darien. 

Winding through the Bahamas and touching at 
San Salvador, Ponce de Leon, on April 2, 1512, ap- 
proached a coast in latitude 30 8', which he fol- 
lowed till nightfall, seeking a port. He supposed 
it to be an island, and since it was "Pascua 
Florida," the Easter season, and the low - lying 

1 Hearera, Historic General, dec. I., lib. VII., chap. iv. 

1 The patent is reprinted in Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 
437 ff* fr m fives Ined. de Indias, XXII., 26. 

1 Cf. Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 4x1, n. 

4 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, dec. VII., lib. VII.; 
Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 422. 


shores presented a fair sight with the mass of 
green foliage, Ponce gave it the name of Florida. 1 
He soon turned and followed the coast to the 
south, rounded the peninsula, and went up the 
west side perhaps as far as Apalache Bay. This 
exploration occupied from April 2 till May 23, 
at which date Ponce de Leon turned to retrace 
his course. June 14 he headed towards Porto 
Rico, hoping still to find Bimine. From July 25 
till September 17 the search was kept up among 
the Bahamas, when Ponce set sail for home, leaving 
one ship under Juan Perez to continue the ex- 
ploration for the fabled fountain of youth. 

In the following December Ponce secured a 
patent to colonize both the " island of Beniny " and 
the " island of Florida/' 2 but was unable to resume 
his plans till 1521, when he started out anew to 
determine whether Florida was an island and to 
plant a colony there. 3 In this enterprise he ex- 
pended most of his fortune, equipping two ships and 
two hundred men with arms, tools, and fifty horses. 
The history of this expedition is very obscure; but 
a comparison of all the evidence seems to point to 

1 Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. IX., chap. x. The 
chronology is perplexing, and Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungcn, 
411, n., decides that the year 1513 fits the calendar of 
narrative better than 1512. Cf. also Harrisse, Discovery of 
North America, 142-150. 

J Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 149. 

See his letter to Charles V., Docs. Ined. de Indias., XL., 
50-52, quoted in translation in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., 
II., 234. 


the west coast of Florida, not far from Tampa Bay, 
as the scene of Ponce de Leon's final labors. 1 In an 
engagement with the Indians he lost many men and 
was so grievously wounded that he must needs re- 
turn to Cuba. There he soon died, after one of the 
longest and most varied careers in the New World. 
His epitaph reveals the contemporary appreciation 
of the conqueror and ruler of Porto Rico and the 
discoverer of Florida: 

"Mole sub hac fortis Requiescunt ossa Leonis 
Qui vicit factis Nomina magna suis." 2 

"Beneath this stone repose the bones 
of the valiant Lion whose deeds 
surpassed the greatness of his name." 

The work of Ponce in exploring the gulf coast of 
the present United States was taken up, although 
not in person, by another veteran of 1493, Francisco 
de Garay, who had risen to be governor of Jamaica. 
Stirred by the reports of the discoveries made under 
the patronage of Velasquez, governor of Cuba, 
Garay equipped four vessels in 1519 to go in search 
of a gulf or strait dividing the main-land. This ex- 
pedition was gone about eight or nine months, 
under the command of Alonzo de Pineda, during 
which they followed the gulf coast from Florida to 
Vera Cruz and named the region Amichel. 8 At a 

1 Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 162. 
1 Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 5. 

1 Navarrete, Viages, III., 147; Harrisse, Discovery of North 
America, 163. 


point roughly in the middle of this stretch of coast 
they entered a large river whose banks were popu- 
lated with friendly Indians. This river, named Rio 
del Espiritu Santo, has usually been identified with 
the Mississippi, although the descriptions of the 
stream and the numerous villages along its banks 
are out of accord with the experience of the sur- 
vivors of De Soto's expedition. A more recent and 
very probable view is that this Rio del Espiritu 
Santo was Mobile bay and river ; 1 the early maps 
usually depict the Rio del Espiritu Santo as empty- 
ing into a bay of the same name. 2 

The reports of the fertility of the soil and the 
peaceableness of the population encouraged Garay 
to attempt settlement, and the charter which he pro- 
cured from King Charles for 'the purpose breathes 
in an exceptional degree the spirit of humanity 
and consideration for the natives. 8 In June, 1523, 
Garay's expedition was ready with an equipment 
far in excess of that with which Cortes had con- 
quered Mexico ; for he had eleven vessels with eight 
hundred and fifty Spaniards, some Indians, and one 
hundred and forty-four horses and an abundance of 
provisions and merchandise. His field of opera- 

1 Cf. Scaife, America, Its Geographical History, 139-176; 
Hamilton, Colonial Mobile, chap. ii. That the Mississippi was 
later identified by Spaniards as the Espiritu Santo and so called 
does not necessarily militate against this view. 

8 A tracing of Garay's map is given in Navarrete, Viages, 
III., 148. 

a Navarrete, Viages, III., 147; summary in Lowery, Spanish 
Settlements, 152. 


tions, however, had already been occupied by Cor- 
t6s, who prepared to resist any rival. Pending the 
settlement of the question Garay 's men yielded to 
the solicitations of Cort6s's agents and deserted; and 
finally Garay himself was compelled to throw in his 
lot with that of the conqueror of Mexico, and con- 
cluded arrangements by which it was agreed that 
his son should marry a young daughter of Cortes. 1 
At the following Christmas season Garay died sud- 
denly of pneumonia. 2 

The exploration of the eastern coast of North 
America followed quickly upon that of the Gulf of 
Mexico, and in response to two different motives: 
the establishment of new colonies and the search 
for a passage into the Pacific. The first of these 
motives prompted Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, a jus- 
tice of the supreme court of Santo Domingo, to 
despatch a caravel in the year 1521 under the com- 
mand of Francisco Gordillo to explore the coast of 
the main-land beyond the Bahamas. 8 While among 
these islands Gordillo ran across a caravel fitted out 
by Justice Matienzo of the same court for the capt- 
ure of Indians. The two parties joined forces and 
proceeded together towards the northwest until they 
reached the main-land in latitude 33 30', near the 
mouth of a large river, which they named St. John 

1 Herrera, Historic, General, dec. III., lib. V., chap. vii. 

2 Ibid. Bernal Diaz, Historia Verdadera, chap, clxii. On 
the cause of his death, see Jourdanet, Bernal Diaz, 898. 

1 Shea, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., II., 238, on the basis 
of imprinted materials. 


the Baptist a site identified by Harrisse with 
Georgetown Entrance, South Carolina. 1 Here Gor- 
dillo yielded to the opportunity, and, contrary to his 
instructions, joined his colleague in loading up with 

Ayllon condemned Gordillo's course, and the 
court at Santo Domingo liberated the Indians. In 
1523, while in Spain, Ayllon secured a charter some- 
what similar to the later English proprietary char- 
ters, which authorized him to. explore eight hundred 
leagues of the coast, and to follow up a strait if he 
found one ; to establish a colony, of which he was to 
be governor, sole proprietor of the fisheries, dis- 
tributer of the lands, etc.; supplies were to be ex- 
empt from taxation; the Indians must not be re- 
duced to forced labor of any kifld. 2 On the strength 
of this patent Ayllon sent out an exploring expedi- 
tion in 1525 which followed up the coast for some 
two hundred and fifty leagues. 8 The preparations 
for the colony were completed in 1526, and in June 
Df that year Ayllon set out with three vessels, some 
five or six hundred people, including some negro 
slaves and three Dominican friars, and eighty-nine 

They landed at the mouth of a river, in latitude 
53 40', to which a pilot gave the name of Jordan. 
The site, however, was not satisfactory, and another 

1 Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 209. 

f Navarrete, Viages, III., 153. 

1 Shea, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist. t II., 240. 

i 4 o SPAIN IN AMERICA [1524 

was selected about one hundred and fifteen miles to 
the southwest near a large river, which was perhaps 
the Cape Fear. Here they established the settle- 
ment of San Miguel de Gualdape. 1 But the com- 
pany was unruly, the Indians hostile, and Ayllon 
inexperienced in command. The ground, too, was 
swampy and unhealthy. The climax was reached 
by the approach unusually early of very cold weath- 
er. Ayllon died of fever October 18, and anarchy 
soon followed. Return to Santo Domingo finally was 
resolved upon, but only one hundred and fifty sur- 
vived to reach the island. 

On the map of Ribeiro in 1529 that part of North 
America now New York and New England is in- 
scribed : " Land of Stephen Gomez, who discovered it 
by his majesty's command in 1525. Trees and 
fruits like those of Spain abound, and turbot, salmon, 
and pike. They found no gold." Gomez, it will be 
remembered, forsook Magellan in the passage of the 
straits and returned with the San Antonio to Spain. 
A Portuguese like his leader, he had proposed a sim- 
ilar expedition to the Orient; but Magellan's plan 
had been accepted and Gomez assigned to accom- 
pany him as one of the pilots. After Gomez re- 
turned to Spain he was imprisoned until the return 

1 The location of San Miguel cannot be determined with 
certainty. Shea, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., II., 241, 
believed it to be near where Jamestown, Virginia, was later 
settled. Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 213, favors the 
lower Cape Fear River between Wilmington and Smithville. 
Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 166, suggests the Pedee. 


of the Victoria. In 1524 he was one of the experts 
to take part in the Badajos conference on the de- 
marcation line. In all these years he never re- 
linquished his plan, which was apparently to seek 
the Spice Islands by a northern route, for in 1523 
he proposed to the king to make a voyage of dis- 
covery to Cathay and even to the Moluccas by a 
strait to be sought for between Florida and Bac- 
calaos (Labrador). 1 

The king provided Gomez with a caravel of fifty 
tons burden, and he set forth from Coruna either 
late in 1524 or early in 15 25,* heading towards the 
northwest. He made land somewhere between 
Maine and Newfoundland, and followed the coast 
very carefully down to the fortieth parallel, or ap- 
proximately to the region covered by Ayllon's ex- 
plorers. The severity of the northern winter con- 
vinced him that if a strait were discovered in the 
high latitudes it would be of little service. Not to 
return empty-handed, he loaded his caravel with 
Indians as slaves. 3 

Spanish explorers had now minutely examined 
the coast of North America, from Mexico to Labra- 
dor, with results of great importance for the history 

1 Docs. Ined. de Indias, XX., 74-78; Peter Martyr, De Rebus 
Oceanicis, dec. VI., lib. X.; in Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 403; 
Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 230. 

1 On the date, see Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 230- 


8 Santa Cruz, in Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 235; 
Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, dec. VIII., lib. X.; Hakluyt, 
Voyages, V., 475- 


of geography, but of little significance in the build- 
ing of their colonial empire. That they should have 
neglected the region where the English were to lay 
the foundations of a great nation and to embody on 
a grander scale their most valuable contributions to 
the political life of mankind, may seem strange, yet 
it was wholly natural. Empire not plantation ap- 
pealed to Spain; for she had little surplus popula- 
tion, and too many political irons in the fire to do 
everything for which opportunity offered. 

That in those days of small ships and an almost 
primitive land transportation the attractions of 
Mexico and Peru infinitely outweighed anything 
the Atlantic seaboard could offer, need not surprise 
any one familiar with the rush to California, or the 
exodus in our day from town and country to the 
frozen Klondike. Spain, to enjoy a profitable trade 
with her colonies under the conditions then pre- 
vailing, must confine them to regions producing 
commodities for which there was a demand in Eu- 
rope, but no home supply. As Peter Martyr, a 
member of the Council of the Indies, remarked, 
apropos of the voyages of Ay lion and Gomez: 
" What need have we of these things which are com- 
mon with all the people of Europe? To the South, 
to the South, for the riches of the Aequinoctiall they 
that seek riches must go, not unto the cold and 
frozen North." l 

1 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, dec. VIII., lib. X., in 
Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 475. 


The first detailed narrative of French exploration 
across the Atlantic is of an attempt to find a passage 
to China which was contemporaneous with that of 
Gomez. The hardy sailors of Normandy and Brit- 
tany had early participated in the fishing voyages 
to Newfoundland, 1 and in occasional trading voy- 
ages to the West Indies and to Brazil. 2 Yet the 
spirit of exploration in distinction from trading and 
fishing ventures does not emerge conspicuously 
among the French until after the voyage of Magellan 
and the conquest of Mexico ; and then it is under an 
Italian, in the French merchant service, Giovanni 
da Verrazano, as leader. The obscurity veiling the 
facts of Verrazano's life, the absence of any patent 
or commission in the French archives or of con- 
temporary notices in the French historians, and the 
mistaken and in reality baseless identification of 
Giovanni Verrazano with the French pirate Jean 
Florin, 8 have led to keen critical questioning whether 
the enterprise of Verrazano was ever carried into 
effect. It is, however, the generally accepted be- 
lief of the best critics to-day that the voyage did 
take place. 

The earliest notice of Verrazano's project is in a 
letter to the king of Portugal from his ambassador 

1 Parkman, Pioneers of France, 189. 

1 Harrisse, Discovery of North America, 693, 697. 

' This identification dates from Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico 
para la Historia de la Florida (1723), 8. It has been disproved 
by PeragaUo, Bull, of the Soc. Geog. Ital., 3d series, IX., 189. It 
never had any documentary evidence to rest on. 

144 SPAIN IN AMERICA [i 524 

in France, dated April 23, 1524, informing him of an 
expedition which the French are expecting to arm 
for the discovery of Cathay under the command of 
Joao Verzano. The ambassador succeeded in avert- 
ing a voyage to the East Indies by the known routes, 
but the ultimate purpose of the voyage was ad- 
hered to. 1 

Our knowledge of the events of the voyage, which 
lasted from January until July, 1524, is derived 
from a letter purporting to have been written *by 
Verrazano to Francis I., the original of which is no 
longer extant. In its Italian form the narrative is 
not free from perplexities, yet it is generally inter- 
preted to indicate that Verrazano in his progress up 
the coast entered New York Bay and Hudson River, 
Narragansett Bay, and made his way north as far 
as Newfoundland. 

The most interesting legacy of the voyage was 
the conjectural placing upon the maps of North 
America of a second isthmus, in the region of the 
Carolinas, dividing the hemisphere into three con- 
tinental masses instead of two. This curious con- 
figuration of the coast first appears in the Maggiolo 
planisphere of 1527 and in a map purporting to have 
been made by Gerolamo da Verrazano. Both of these 
maps have on the Atlantic coast Norman and French 
names, and the Verrazano map has an inscription 
stating that Giovanni da Verrazano discovered the 

1 Alguns Documentos, 463; Murphy, Voyage of Verrazano, 163, 


country five years before. 1 These maps and their 
nomenclature are an adequate proof of the reality 
of Verrazano' s voyage, and go far to quiet the doubts 
aroused by the perplexities in the narrative. 

This hypothetical Pacific counterpart to the At- 
lantic Gulf of Mexico haunted the maps for over 
half a century and lured many subsequent naviga- 
tors with its unreal promises of a strait or a portage 
between the oceans. 2 Verrazano himself never fol- 
lowed up this voyage, but apparently directed his 
attention to projects relating to Brazil, for he is 
plausibly identified with the "Terazano " who, the 
Portuguese ambassador in France informs his sov- 
ereign, December 24, 1527, "is going from here with 
five ships which the admiral is preparing for him to 
a great river in Brazil," 3 etc. 

Ten years elapsed before Francis L again turned 
his interest to North America under the solicitation 
of Admiral Chabot. In 1534 Jacques Cartier, an 
experienced navigator of St. Malo, in Brittany, was 
given command of two ships and one hundred and 
sixty-two men to undertake the discovery of a strait 
to the Pacific. Setting sail in April, he passed 
around Newfoundland to the north, entered the 
straits of Belle Isle, explored the Gulf of St. Law- 

1 Hanisse, Discovery of North America, 220. 

2 Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., IV., 32-46. Jt was named 
the Sea of Verrazano. There is no reference to it in the letter 
of Verrazano. 

5 Alguns Documentos, 490; Peragallo first brought out this 
evidence. See above, 143. 


rence, and discovered the island of Anticosti, when 
the lateness of the season and scarcity of supplies 
led to his return. 1 

In May, 1535, he again set out with three ships and 
took the same course. Reaching a small bay near 
Anticosti Island on St. Lawrence's day, he called it 
Bay of St. Lawrence. The great river that after- 
wards bore the name of the saint, Cartier knew as 
the river of Hochelaga. This broad estuary Cartier 
now explored with the same care exercised by the 
Spaniards in exploring its counterpart, the La 
Plata, in South America. By September i he was 
opposite the mouth of the Saguenay. A few days 
more brought them to the Indian town of StadaconS, 
near the historic rock of Quebec. Cartier left his 
larger vessels moored near the mouth of the St. 
Charles River, and pushed on to Hochelaga despite 
the dissuasion of his Indian hosts. The current 
proved too swift and the channel too uncertain, and 
the reconnoissance was completed in their row- 
boats. When finally they approached the Indian 
village of Hochelaga, beneath the stately height 
which Cartier named Mount Royal, the whole popu- 
lation came out to greet them and later to entertain 
them with dancing. 

Further exploration was blocked by the Lachine 
rapids, a name afterwards conferred in mockery of 

Parkman, Pioneers of France, 199-201; narrative of Car- 
tier's first voyage in Goldsmid's Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 


the elusive hopes that looked to find there a way to 
China. 1 Cartier dropped back to the St. Charles, 
where they prepared to spend the winter as did 
Magellan in Bay St. Julian fifteen years before, but 
under severer conditions. Ice-bound and snow- 
bound from November i until the middle of 
March, wasted by scurvy, they lost twenty-five of 
their best men. It was the middle of July, 1536, 
before Cartier reached St. Malo. 2 

Yet the inhospitable severities of the Canadian 
winter did not deter King Francis from an attempt 
to plant a colony. In 1540 Jean Francois de la 
Roque, lord of Roberval, was appointed viceroy and 
lieutenant-general of Canada and the surrounding 
regions, and Cartier was ma<Je commander of the 
fleet. The wintry North could not appeal to the 
ordinary Frenchman, and so Francis repeated the 
unhappy experiment of Ferdinand and Isabella and 
authorized Roberval to recruit his ranks from the 
jailbirds. 8 

Cartier sailed in 1541 with colonists and cattle, 
goats and hogs. He built a fort a little above 
Quebec, explored the rapids above Montreal, and 
waited in vain for Roberval. 4 When the tardy vice- 
roy reached St. John's, Newfoundland, the follow- 
ing spring with some two hundred colonists, he was 

1 Parkman, La Salle, ax. 

'Parkman, Pioneers of France, 201-21$; Hakluyt, Voyages, 
XIII., 101-146. 8 Parkman, Pioneers of France, 217. 

4 Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 146-163. 


amazed a few days later to see Cartier sail in on his 
way to France, because he had not force enough to 
withstand the savages. Roberval ordered Cartier 
to stay and return with him, but he slipped away in 
the night, leaving Roberval to taste for himself the 
arctic winter. Disease swept off about fifty of his 
men, and the colony was broken up the following 
summer. 1 The foundation of New France was to be 
the work of a later age and of a greater man than 
Cartier or Roberval Samuel de Champlain. 

1 Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 163-168; Parkman, Pioneers of 
France, 216227. 




THE conquest of Cuba, from which proceeded 
the exploration of the western gulf coast, the 
conquest of Mexico, and the interior exploration of 
North America, was undertaken by Diego Colon, 
the son and heir of the discoverer who was appointed 
governor of Espanola in 1508 in recognition of his 
father's rights. For carrying out so important a 
work he selected Diego Velasquez, who, after ser- 
vice with credit under Bartholomew Columbus and 
Ovando, had become the wealthiest and most highly 
esteemed of the old settlers. 1 Kind-hearted and 
jovial, he had been a most popular local governor, 
and when he was appointed to settle Cuba his at- 
tractive qualities and their own necessities soon 
brought together some three hundred men ready 
for the adventure. Among those who participated 
in the conquest were men of such after-fame and 
diverse fortunes as Pamfilo de Narvaez, Cort6s, and 
the missionary historian Las Casas. In his cam- 

1 Las Casas, Historia, III., 57, 462, 463. 

i 5 o SPAIN IN AMERICA [1517 

paigns Velasquez was accompanied by Las Casas, 
who zealously baptized all the children he could, 
and did much by influence and persuasion to soften 
the severities of the conquest. 1 

The extent of Cuba and the resources of Velasquez 
soon raised him to a position of partial independence 
of Diego Colon, and after the island was pacified he 
was ready to entertain other projects. The first 
occasion was offered by some Spaniards who had 
gone to Darien with Pedrarias Davila, but with his 
permission came to Cuba. Velasquez received them 
kindly and promised them the first repartimientos 
that fell vacant. After vainly waiting about two 
years they proposed an expedition to explore the 
waters to the west. Velasquez consented, and with 
some help from him three vessels were equipped 
under the command of Hernandez de Cordova, 
which set sail in February, 1517. Their pilot was 
Anton Alaminos, who, as a boy, had been with Co- 
lumbus on his fourth voyage, and he suggested a re- 
connoissance of the regions to the north of the point 
where Columbus made land and turned southward. 2 
His counsel was approved, and after four days of 
careful sailing beyond the western end of Cuba they 
made a large island called by the Indians Cozumel. 

The inhabitants were clothed, and their handi- 
work revealed a higher culture than the natives of 
the Antilles. Evidences to this effect multiplied 
as they coasted northward and rounded the east- 

1 Las Casas, Historia, IV., 19. 8 Ibid., IV., 350. 


ward projection of a region they understood the 
Indians to call Yucatan. 1 If the natives marvelled 
at the ships and boats, at the heavy beards and 
white faces of the Spaniards, at their clothes, swords, 
cross-bows, and lances, stroking their beards and 
feeling of the clothes, not less amazed were the 
strangers to find stone buildings with carvings, 
paved streets, temples with sculptured idols, and 
altars with drops of freshly spilled blood. During 
the nearly twenty-five years of discoveries and ex- 
plorations that had passed since the first voyage of 
Columbus, thousands of miles of coast-line had been 
followed, the isthmus had been crossed, and the 
Pacific Ocean discovered ; and yet all without once 
coming in contact with people advanced beyond the 
traditional state of nature. 3 

In a battle with the Indians, the commander, 
Hernandez de Cordova, was wounded, and he died 
some ten days after his return home, his last hours 
embittered by Velasquez's selection of Juan de 
Grijalva to follow up these discoveries with a trad- 
ing expedition. 8 Grijalva started out from Santi- 
ago in April, 1518, with four ships, and directed his 
course to the island of Cozumel ; and thence followed 
the coast of Yucatan and Mexico to a point a little 

1 Las Casas, Historia, IV., 350-357; Bernal Diaz, Historia 
Verdadera, chaps, ii., iii. 

1 The Indians that Columbus saw in a boat on his fourth voy- 
age, see above, p. 79, might be regarded as a single exception. 

1 Las Casas, Historia, IV., 361 , 362, based on Cordova's letters; 
Bernal Diaz, Historia Verdadera, chap. iv. 


beyond Vera Cruz, when the pilot Alaminos advised 
against proceeding farther lest adverse currents 
should obstruct their return. Velasquez had strictly 
enjoined Grijalva not to attempt to plant a colony, 
but to confine himself to trading ; but when reports 
from Grijalva confirmed those of Cordova, and when 
later he brought evidence of the abundance of gold 
in the new land, Velasquez was vexed that his in- 
structions had been followed, and promptly prepared 
to remedy the shortcoming by securing authority 
from Spain to make a settlement. 1 

For the command of this new expedition, which 
did not await the arrival of the king's consent, Velas- 
quez was induced to select Hernando Cortes, then 
about thirty-five years of age. Cort6s was born in 
Medellin, in the province of Estremadura, in 1485, 
the son of a poor country gentleman. After some 
study of law in the University of Salamanca, 2 like 
many another young Spaniard he carne over to 
Espanola to seek his fortune. Taking service under 
Velasquez, he received a repartimiento of Indians 
and a notary's commission from Ovando. When 
Velasquez went to Cuba he took Cort6s as a private 
secretary, but the youth was too talkative to be 
an ideal secretary, nor had he given any indication 
of the remarkable abilities that he afterwards dis- 
played. Hardly had Cort6s taken charge of the 

1 Las Casas, Historia, IV., 422 ff. ( 440, 445. information derived 
from Grijalva in 1523. 

1 Ibid., n. Las Casas knew Cort6s's father. 


rapid preparations for the new enterprise when 
Velasquez began' to have misgivings and made a vain 
attempt to displace him. 

The fleet comprised eleven vessels, carrying 
about five hundred and fifty Spaniards including 
the sailors, sixteen horses, two hundred to three 
hundred Indians, and one negro. It finally took its 
departure February 10, 1519, pursuing the route 
followed by Cordova and Grijalva. 1 An early piece 
of good-fortune was the rescue of a Spaniard who 
had been wrecked on those shores some years before, 2 
and whose knowledge of the Maya language proved 
of great utility. A little later, as a result of the 
first sharp battle with the natives of Tabasco, and 
Cortes' tactful treatment of two captive caciques, 
friendly relations were secured with this people. 
In the peace-offering presented to Cort6s were 
twenty young women, among them a ca.cique's 
daughter known after her baptism as the Lady 
Marina. Her cleverness, fidelity to the Spaniards, 
and knowledge of the Maya and Nahuatl lan- 
guages enabled her to render Cortes inestimable ser- 
vices. Through the rescued Spaniard and Dona 
Marina, Cort6s had the immense advantage hence- 
forward of being able to communicate freely with 
the Mexicans. 8 

'Las Casas, Historic, IV., 457; Denial Diaz, Historia Ver- 
dadera, chaps, xxiii., xxiv. 

1 Bernal Diaz, Historia Verdadera, chaps, xxvii., xxix. 
1 Ibid., chaps, xxxiv.-xxxvii. 


The third stroke of f ortune a singular coincidence 
of striking consequence was the widely prevalent 
tradition in Mexico of the return of the culture hero, 
the fair god Quetzalcoatl, who in an earlier age had 
gone off towards the east. The first rumors of the 
approach of the Spaniards seemed a fulfilment of 
this looked-for event. 1 From the moment when 
Cort6s landed at San Juan and established the little 
colony of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz, with a govern- 
ment of its own, of whose forces he became com- 
mander, he was favored by a rare combination of 
circumstances, which this extraordinary man knew 
how to take advantage of to the utmost. 

A detailed narrative of the conquest of Mexico lies 
outside the scope of the present volume, which is 
concerned primarily with the extension of geo- 
graphical knowledge, and secondarily with Span- 
ish colonial institutions, but certain significant 
features of that conquest may be briefly indi- 

The Aztec power was a military despotism exer- 
cised by three confederated warlike tribes, who lived 
upon the plunder of their enemies and the tribute 
of their subjects. War for food and war for victims 
for the sacrifices was their chief occupation. The 
lack of domestic animals for suitable food had con- 
tributed to the survival of the custom, partly relig- 
ious and partly utilitarian, of eating the flesh of 

1 Cf. Fiske, Discovery of America, II., 229-238; H. H. Bancroft, 
Mexico, I., 101-108; Payne, History of America, I., 588 ff. 


the sacrificial victims. 1 The mass of the outlying 
Indian population were oppressed by their preda- 
tory rulers and not disinclined to a change when 
once the new-comers showed themselves superior. 

The Aztec warriors, although destitute of iron, 
were expert archers and possessed a most formida- 
ble weapon in a narrow club set with a double edge 
of obsidian knives. Their defensive armor was 
serviceable, and they were desperate fighters. The 
Spaniards, on the other hand, possessed the immense 
advantage of fire-arms, steel weapons, armor, and, 
not least, horses, which seemed to their opponents 
strange monsters. In addition they had a leader of 
matchless ability and resource. Yet these superi- 
orities would have all been in vain but for the co- 
incidences mentioned above and the paralyzing 
perplexity of Montezuma at the situation, which 
threw the advantages into the hands of Cort6s. 

The shock between these two civilizations, repre- 
senting widely separated stages of culture, is one of 
the most romantic and unique events in history. 2 
For the history of the conquest we are fortunate in 
possessing Cort6s's own account in his letters to his 
king, which have been appropriately compared to 
Caesar 's story of his conquest of Gaul ; the fascinating 
memoirs of the old soldier Bernal Diaz, who went 

1 Cf. Fiske's summary of Bandelier's analysis of Mexican 
society, Discovery of America, I., 103 ff.; Payne, History of 
America, II., 499-501. 

1 Cf. Fiske, Discovery of America, II., 261. 


through it all; the illustrations of the Mexican ar- 
tists; and the Indian traditions. 1 

The story of the conquest has been made familiar 
to modern readers by two of the greatest of English 
historical narrators, Robertson and Prescott: the 
scuttling of the ships to cut off retreat and enforce 
the unity of a common fate upon opposing factions 
among the Spaniards ; the winning of the alliance of 
the Tlascalans ; the exemplary punishment of treach- 
erous Cholula ; 2 the bold but quietly firm summons 
to Montezuma to acknowledge the sovereignty of 
the king of Spain ; the amazing audacity and equally 
amazing coolness of nerve that calmly compelled 
Montezuma to become the unwilling prisoner-guest 
of the Spanish leader; the instant resolution and 
dare-devil courage that so completely turned the 
tables on Pamfilo de Narvaez, and the tact that won 
over his soldiers ; the wealth of resource and tenacity 
of purpose that finally recovered the city of Mexico 
and completely broke the Aztec power after such a 
set-back as the Noche triste that awful night of 
retreat following the rising precipitated by Al- 
varado's rash attempt to imitate the incident of 
Cholula ; the heroic labors of rebuilding the city and 
of founding Spanish rule in New Spain and of setting 
in train the transmission of European culture ; and, 
not least, the efforts to save the population from 
the fate of the unhappy islanders. In all these 

1 Collected by Sahagun, Torquemada, and others. 

2 Cf. Bandelier, The Gilded Man, 258 ff. 


exigencies Cort6s revealed such inflexibility of res- 
olution, never-failing presence of mind, unwavering 
self-control, such readiness to strike or to conciliate 
as best fitted the case, such consideration for his 
own men and for the conquered, such constructive 
statesmanship, such downright business ability, 
such scientific and practical interest in geographical 
exploration that he is easily the greatest of the 
conquistadores, if not the ablest man that Spain 
produced in that age. 1 

Cortes landed in Mexico in the spring of 1519, and 
entered the city in November ; in May, 1520, Narvaez 
was captured and Alvarado massacred the Aztec 
nobles ; on June 30 occurred the disastrous retreat of 
the Noche triste. A little over a year later the city 
again fell into Corps's hands, &fter a prolonged siege, 
August 13,1521. Then followed the razing of the old 
town and the building of a new city. To the restor- 
ation of the country to peaceful prosperity Cort6s de- 
voted every energy. European plants and animals 
were brought in, the conversion of the natives was set 
on foot, and the exploration of the land undertaken. 

Mexico now in turn succeeded the islands as the 
starting-point of new colonizing and exploring ex- 
peditions. Hardly had Cortes occupied the city 
of Mexico when he sent four Spaniards, two by 
one route and two by another, to the South Sea; 2 

1 On the various aspects of CorteVs abilities and character, 
cf. Helps, Spanish Conquest, III., 4-8; H. H. Bancroft, Mexico, 
II., 484-487; Aleman, Disertaciones , Nos. 5 and 6. 

2 Folsom, Despatches of Cortts, 338. 


a little later Alvarado was despatched to conquer a 
sea-coast province, and no sooner was word received 
of his success than Cortes despatched forty Span- 
iards, ship-carpenters and smiths, thither to build 
two caravels and two brigantines to explore the 
South Sea. 1 Alvarado, meantime, pushed on to the 
south and began the conquest of Guatemala, keeping 
in mind the discovery of a strait. 2 The same search 
was one of the purposes of Cristoval de Olid, who 
coasted along the gulf shores to Honduras; and 
rumors that Olid was setting up an independent rule 
led Cortes into one of the most arduous undertak- 
ings of his life the overland march to Honduras. 8 
In 1527 the first expedition to the Philippines from 
Mexico was despatched under Alvaro de Saavedra. 
The voyage was safely made by only one of the three 
ships that started, and it was unable to return. 4 In 
addition may be mentioned the discovery of Lower 
California in 1533, Cort6s's own expedition thither 
in 1534, and the more complete exploration of the 
Gulf of California by Ulloa in 1539." 

The subsequent development of coast and interior 
exploration is from this point much affected by the 
results of an expedition begun twelve years earlier. 

1 Polsom, Despatches of Cortts, 349, 351. 

1 Cf. ibid., 417, on Corps's interest in discovering a strait. 

Cf. his Sixth Letter, Gayangos, Cartas de Cort6s t 395; H. H. 
Bancroft, Central America, I., 522-583. 

4 H. H. Bancroft, Mexico, II., 258. 

Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., II., 441, 44*; H. H. Bancroft, 
North Mexican States, I., opening chaps.; Mexico, II., 4- 


Pamfilo de Narvaez, after a long and, on the whole, 
successful career in the colonies, checkered, to be 
sure, by the fiasco of an attempt to arrest the prog- 
ress of Cortes, secured from the king the grant of 
all the gulf coast from Mexico to the Cape of Florida. 
Narvaez set out in June, 1527, with five ships and 
six hundred people, including friars, negroes, and the 
wives of some of the company. 1 Desertions and 
storms in the West Indies delayed his final start for 
his new dominions until April, 1528. Effecting a 
landing just beyond Tampa Bay on Good Friday, 
Narvaez found only a deserted Indian village. Later, 
communication with the Indians by signs seemed to 
indicate that farther to the west was a richer country, 
and Narvaez landed, but directed his ships to follow 
the shore towards Panuco (Mexico) and to await him 
at a harbor the pilots professed to know of. Cabe?a 
de Vaca, the treasurer of the expedition and its his- 
torian, opposed this step, but in vain. 3 The fleet did 
not find the ports where the pilots expected to 
await Narvaez, turned back, discovered Tampa Bay, 
then resumed the search for Narvaez. After a year 
of futile effort the ships sailed for New Spain. 8 

Meanwhile, Narvaez, with three hundred men, 
set out May i to follow the coast by land. Two 
months were consumed in tediously pushing their 
course on short rations through forests and swamps 

1 Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 172-174. 
1 B. Smith, Cabefa de Vaca (ed. 1851), ai. 
*lbid. t 122. 


until they reached the Indian town of Apalache, 
not far from Tallahassee. 1 Here they tarried twen- 
ty-five days, harassed by the Indians. Their fail- 
ure turned them south to the coast near St. Marks, 
where, under extraordinary difficulties from lack 
of tools and materials, they contrived to put to- 
gether five boats, in which the party (now reduced 
to two hundred and forty-two) embarked late in 
September. Ignorant of navigation, with over- 
loaded and unseaworthy craft, they had no choice 
but to thread their way painfully along the shore, 
sheltered here and there by the low-lying islands. 
Perhaps half the distance to Mexico had been cov- 
ered when the approach of winter intensified their 
sufferings and multiplied their perils. One after 
another the frail vessels succumbed, till in November 
about eighty destitute and enfeebled Spaniards 
found themselves on one of the long, narrow islands 
off the coast of Texas, perhaps Matagorda Island. 2 
Narvaez himself, while spending the night on his 
boat anchored near the shore, was blown out to sea 
and never seen again. 3 His crew, wandering along 
the shore, gradually perished from cold and hunger, 
and a winter of misery reduced the number of the 
survivors to fifteen. 4 

Cabega de Vaca and his immediate companions 
were forced by the Indians to become medicine- 
men. Unexpected success attended their breathing 

1 Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 185. * Ibid., 191, n. 

8 B. Smith, Cabeca de Vaca, 59. * Ibid., 48. 


upon the sick and repetition of prayers, and the 
strangers became too valuable to lose. Five long 
years were passed among these Indians as healers, 
traders, or slaves, according as savage whims sug- 
gested. In 1534 Cabega de Vaca, with three others 
of those still surviving Dorantes, Castillo, and a 
negro slave Estevanico managed to escape to an- 
other tribe whose good-will was won by apparently 
miraculous cures. After eight months' sojourn with 
this tribe they pushed on to the west. Their repu- 
tation as medicine-men spread, and soon a most 
extraordinary procession, living on the plunder of 
villages, was wending its way slowly towards the 
setting sun. " Frequently we were accompanied 
by three or four thousand persons, and as we had 
to breathe upon and sanctify the food and drink for 
each, and give them permission to do many things 
they would come to ask, it may be seen how great 
to us were the trouble and annoyance . " l The j ourney 
from the Texas coast to the Pacific took ten months. 
Their route is now thought to have been westward 
through Texas to the Rio Grande near where the river 
Pecos joins it, along the Rio Grande to a point near 
the mouth of the Conchos, then across Mexico in a 
southwesterly direction to the west coast, somewhat 
below the middle of the Gulf of California. 2 Fi- 
nally, in July, 1536, they reached the city of Mexico. 

1 B. Smith, Cabefa de Vaca, 95. 

2 On Cabea de Vaca's route, see Bandelier, Contributions 
to the History of the Southwestern Portion of the United States, 
28-67; Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 206-209. 


A year later Cabega de Vaca arrived in Spain, 
where his expectation to secure the governorship of 
Florida was disappointed, for it had already been 
granted to De Soto. After an unfortunate experi- 
ence in the river Plate region he spent the rest of 
his life in Spain. The credibility of his narrative 
has been questioned, and it certainly is not free 
from exaggerations, yet in substance it is accepted 
as trustworthy. It is less easy, however, to acquit 
him of the charge of utterly misleading his hearers 
in conversation and of rousing false hopes in the 
breasts of the later explorers, De Soto and Coro- 
nado, by mysterious allusions and assertions, such 
as "that Florida was the richest country of the 
world." * 

Hernando de Soto was born in Xerez de Badajos 
about the year 1500, and upon reaching manhood 
had gone to the isthmus to seek his fortune. Start- 
ing with nothing but his sword and shield, he dis- 
played such qualities that he was sent to Peru with 
Pizarro, where he greatly distinguished himself. 
He returned to Spain with a fortune of over one 
hundred thousand pesos of gold 2 roughly equal to 
three hundred thousand dollars and was rewarded 
by the emperor with the office of governor of Cuba 
and adelantado of Florida, and commissioned to 
conquer and settle at his own expense the whole 
region now included in the southern part of the 

1 "The Gentleman of Elvas," in Hakluyt, Voyages, XIIL, 546. 
1 Ibid., 544, 545; Oviedo, Historia General, I., 544. 


United States. 1 Among those who joined De Soto 
were several Portuguese from Elvas. To one of 
these we owe the best account of the expedition that 
has come down to us. 

A prosperous voyage across the Atlantic, an in- 
spection of his new province of Cuba, and the re- 
plenishing of his stores occupied the months from 
April, 1538, to May, 1539, when De Soto left Havana 
with nine vessels, over six hundred and twenty men, 
and two hundred and twenty- three horses. 2 On 
May 30 a landing was effected in Tampa Bay. By 
a strange coincidence they soon picked up a sur- 
vivor of Narvaez's force, one Juan Ortiz, who had 
been living among the Indians twelve years. Ortiz 
at one time was on the point of being put to death, 
when his life was saved by tHe cacique's daughter 
in a way which may have suggested to Captain John 
Smith the romantic incident of his rescue by Poca- 
hontas. 8 

During the first summer various short reconnois- 
sances were made, and the main force marched up 
the west coast of Florida to that same region of 
Apalache where Narvaez gave up his march and 
turned seaward. There De Soto wintered. A 
large number of the Indian carriers died during the 

1 B. Smith, Coleccion de Documentos para la Historia de la 
Florida, 140-146; Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 215, 216. 

2 Biedma, in Rye, Discovery of Florida, 173; B. Smith, Col. de 
Docs., 47. 

1 Hakluyt's first publication of the narrative of " The Gentle- 
man of Elvas" was in 1609. 

1 64 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1540 

winter from exposure and lack of food. 1 In the 
spring De Soto resumed the march towards the 
northeast across the present State of Georgia, in 
search of the land which the Indians told him was 
on another sea. 2 Reaching the Savannah River, he 
turned northwestward, passed through the Blue 
Mountains 3 nearly to the border of Tennessee, then 
went nearly southwest through Georgia and Ala- 
bama to a large Indian village, Mau villa, a little 
above the head of Mobile Bay, where he arrived 
the middle of October. 

We are not to think of this expedition as being 
always on the march. From time to time longer or 
shorter stops were made to recruit the strength of 
the men and to fatten the horses. 4 The severest 
battle with the Indians occurred at Mauvilla, in 
which a large number of Indians were killed, eigh- 
teen Spaniards lost their lives, and one hundred and 
fifty were wounded. A less resolute and heroic 
spirit would have yielded at this point, for De Soto 
knew that his lieutenant, Maldonado, was waiting 
for him at Ochuse, some six days' journey distant, 
but he did not reveal this opportunity of escape to 
his men, and "determined to send no newes of him- 
self until hee had found some rich country." 5 That 

1 " The Gentleman of Elvas," in Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 
572. 3 Biedma, in Rye, Discovery of Florida, 177. 

8 "The Gentleman of Elvas," in Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII. , 583. 
The identifications of De Soto's route are based on Lowery's 
text an notes. 

* Hakluyt, Voyages, XIIL, 585. Ibid., 599. 


in the year and a half that he had spent in the 
southern forests he had lost only one hundred and 
two men from sickness or attacks by the Indians 
is a brilliant proof of De Soto's abilities as a leader 
and explorer. 

Turning his back again on the world outside, De 
Soto marched northwest for a month until he came 
to the Indian village of Chicasa, in northern Missis- 
sippi, where he set up winter quarters December 
17. Here in March, 1542, the worst disaster thus 
far experienced fell upon him. The Indians at- 
tacked the village suddenly about midnight and set 
it on fire. In this calamity eleven Spaniards were 
killed and most of the survivors lost their clothes, 
substitutes for which must now be devised from 
skins. Fifty horses and several hundred of the 
great drove of pigs, which accompanied the ex- 
pedition to serve in emergencies for provisions, were 
burned. 1 

Resuming the march, De Soto proceeded in a 
northwesterly direction until, on May 8, 1541, they 
"saw the great river. " 2 "The River was almost 
halfe a league broad. If a man stood still on the 
other side, it could not be discerned whether he were 
a man or no. The River was of great depth, and of a 
strong current ; the water was alwaies muddie ; there 
came downe the River continually many trees and 

l Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 603; Oviedo, Historia General, 

I-. 571- 

1 Ibid., I., 573. Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 237, 238, inad- 
vertently says March. 


timber. ' ' * Such are the words of the earliest descrip- 
tion of the Mississippi by a companion of its dis- 

A month was spent in building barges to make a 
crossing, which was finally effected some distance 
south of Memphis, June 8. 3 The identification of 
De Soto's route west of the Mississippi is very un- 
certain, but apparently his marches were within the 
bounds of the present State of Arkansas. They 
came upon the nomadic Indians of the plains, heard 
of the buffalo, and procured buffalo-robes, but did 
not see the animals, and they gathered from the 
Indians that to the west they could find guides to 
"the other sea." s A long march in that direction 
was made, but in vain. They then turned back to 
the southeast and went into winter quarters early 
in November. 4 

Such was the indomitable spirit of De Soto that 
he was still ready after an exploration of two years 
and a half to send word to Cuba and to New Spain 
for new supplies with which to prosecute discoveries 
and conquest, for he had not yet got as far west as 
Cabega de Vaca. 5 The losses among the Spaniards 
now numbered two hundred and fifty men. A 
winter of great severity followed, and the deep 
snow kept them housed most of the time. In the 

1 "The Gentleman of Elvas," in Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 608. 
1 Cf. Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 237, for a discussion of the 
place. * Biedma, in Rye, Discovery of Florida, 193. 

4 Oviedo, Historia General, I., 577. 
'Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., la. 


spring De Soto started towards the south to reach 
the gulf in pursuance of his plan, but the way was 
arduous and the men and horses had been weak- 
ened by the winter; De Soto became much de- 
pressed at the outlook, "his men and horses every 
day diminished, being without succor to sustain 
themselves in the country, and with that thought 
he fell sick." ' 

The end was near, and the great explorer knew it. 
In a dignified and pathetic speech he bade farewell 
to his followers, and named Luis de Moscoso to 
succeed him in command. "The next day, being 
the 2ist of May, 1542, departed out of this life, the 
valorous, virtuous, and valiant Captain, Don Fer- 
nando de Soto, Governour of Cuba, and Adelantado 
of Florida, whom fortune advanced, as it useth to 
doe others, that he might have the higher fal." 2 
He was first buried, and then at Moscoso's order 
his body was taken up, wrapped in mantles with 
much sand, "wherein he was carried in a canoe, 
and thrown into the middest of the River. " 8 

The new leader and his followers were ready to 
return to civilization, but thought it best to go over- 
land to Mexico, and they proceeded southwesterly 
into Texas, perhaps as far as the Trinity River; 4 
but the scarcity of provisions and the hostility of 
the Indians compelled them after some months to 
seek the Mississippi again. Early in 1543 they be- 

1 Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 19. ' Ibid., 33. Ibid., 24. 

4 Lowcry, Spanish Settlements, 249. 


gan to construct seven brigantines, which with 
great difficulty were built and equipped. All the 
pigs and all but twenty-two of the horses were 
killed and their flesh dried for provisions. 1 Some 
five hundred Indian slaves, men and women, were 
liberated, and about one hundred others carried 
along, but these were subsequently emancipated by 
royal orders. 2 

The Spaniards embarked July 2, 1543, and floated 
down the river, with many perils from the stream 
and from Indians, for they no longer had fire-arms. 
In sixteen days they reached the sea, and then 
coasted along the gulf shore towards Mexico for 
fifty-two days, arriving at the river Panuco, Septem- 
ber 10, 1543, four years, three months, and eleven 
days from the landing in Tampa Bay. Out of the 
six hundred and twenty people who started, three 
hundred and eleven survived, a favorable result, 
if one remember that half of the one hundred 
colonists at Jamestown died the first winter, and 
over four hundred out of five hundred died in the 
winter of 1609-1 6 io. 8 Thus ended the most re- 
markable exploring expedition in the history of 
North America. Its only parallel is the contem- 
porary enterprise of Coronado, which did for the 
southwest what De Soto did for the eastern and 
central belt. 

l Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 39-41. 
1 Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 249. 
Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation t 31, 40. 


If Cabega de Vaca's reports of the riches of Florida 
spurred on De Soto and his followers in Spain they 
were not less exciting in Mexico. There the ground 
had been in a measure prepared by the fusing of an 
Indian folk tale of seven caves with the old geo- 
graphical myth of the Seven Cities ; and the whole 
was made vivid by the stories told by an Indian of 
a visit when a child to these seven towns, which 
he compared to the city of Mexico. 1 

It seemed advisable to Mendoza, the viceroy of 
New Spain, to explore the region, and he chose a 
Franciscan, Friar Marcos, of Nizza, or Nice, who 
had been in Peru with Pizarro, and in Mexico had 
had some missionary experience on the frontier, 2 to 
make a reconnoissance. He was now instructed 
to make careful observation^ of the country, its 
products and people, and to report them in detail 
to Mendoza. 3 The negro Stephen, who had come 
with De Vaca, was given to him to serve as a guide, 
and he was also attended by some Christianized 
Pima Indians. Friar Marcos left Culiacan in the 
western frontier of Sinaloa a few weeks before De 
Soto landed in Florida. Following the coast as far 
as the Yaqui, he then went nearly due north, veering 
later towards the east, until he came within sight 
of the Zufii villages in western New Mexico. The 
negro Stephen had gone on ahead with a retinue of 

1 Banddier, Contributions, 6-ia; Winship, Journey of Coro- 
nado, I., i. 'Bandelier, Contributions, 107. 

1 Ibid., 109-112. 


Indians, and Friar Marcos now learned that he had 
been killed by the Indians of Cibola, the first of the 
seven cities (which are now usually identified with 
the Zufii pueblos). From a distant point of view, 
the pueblo seemed to the friar in that magnifying 
atmosphere as large as the city of Mexico. 1 

The magic of the association with the legend of the 
"Seven Cities " reinforced the impression made by 
the narrative of the friar, some of whose exagger- 
ated reports may have arisen from imperfectly un- 
derstanding his informants; and elaborate prepa- 
rations were at once made to invade the new land 
of wonder, and to repeat, if possible, the history of 
the conquest of Mexico. The enterprise was placed 
in the charge of Francisco de Coronado, the recently 
appointed governor of New Galicia, the northern 
frontier province of New Spain, and a personal 
friend of Mendoza. 2 The vigor and energy of Men- 
doza's government as well as the resources of New 
Spain at that early date are strikingly displayed in 
the preparations for what is perhaps the most 
elaborate single enterprise of exploration in North 
American history. The land force under Coronado 
numbered three hundred Spaniards and eight hun- 
dred Indians, and was accompanied by a large num- 
ber of extra horses and droves of sheep and pigs. 
There was in addition a sea force of two ships under 

1 Bandelier, Contributions, 112-178, 264-282; Fray Marcos de 
Nizza, Relation, in Docs, Ined. de Indias, III., 329-350. 
1 Winship, Journey of Coronado, 10. 


Hernando de Alarcon to co-operate with Coronado 
by following the coast of the Gulf of California and 
keeping in communication with the army and car- 
rying some of its baggage, 1 Alarcon discovered the 
mouth of the Colorado River, and August 26, 1540, 
started to explore it with boats. In the second of 
his two separate trips he apparently got as far as 
the lower end of the canon, about two hundred 
miles up, as he estimated it. 2 

Coronado himself set out in February, 1540, 
marching up the west coast of Mexico. At Culiacan 
he left the main force and went ahead with about 
fifty horsemen, some foot-soldiers, and most of the 
Indian allies. 3 Passing across the southwestern 
section of Arizona they verged to the eastward till 
they came to Cibola, which Was captured. Here 
they were profoundly disappointed. However plau- 
sible Friar Marcos 's comparison of the distant view 
of the pueblo with the city of Mexico may be made 
to seem in our time, there is no doubt that it com- 
pletely misled the men of that day who knew Mexico. 4 

Coronado now sent back Melchior Diaz to order 
up the main force. Diaz did so, and then set out to 
explore the region at the head of the Gulf of Cali- 
fornia. He crossed the Colorado River and pene- 
trated the country to the west. 5 Another impor- 

1 Winship, The Coronado Expedition (Bureau of Ethnology, 
Fourteenth Annual Report), 385. * Ibid., 404-406. 

1 Castafieda, in Winship, Journey of Coronado, 20. 

23. Ibid., 26-28. 


tant side expedition during this summer was that 
of Pedro de Tovar to the province of Tusayan, 
northwest of Cibola, which led to the discovery of 
the Grand Canon of the Colorado by De Cardenas. 1 
As they looked into its depths it seemed as " if the 
water was six feet across, although the Indians said 
it was half a league wide/ 1 They tried to get down 
to the stream, but in vain. " Those who stayed 
above had estimated that some huge rocks on the 
sides of the cliffs seemed to be about as tall as a 
man, but those who went down swore that when 
they reached these rocks they were bigger than the 
great tower of Seville/' 2 

When the main army reached Cibola, Coronado 
moved with it to about the middle of New Mexico, 
where he went into winter quarters at Tiguex, on the 
Rio Grande. Here the burden of requisitions for 
supplies and individual acts of outrage against the 
Indians of Tiguex provoked them to an attack on 
the Spaniards, which was successfully repelled. The 
cruelty of the reprisals inflicted on the Indian pris- 
oners exceeded anything done by De Soto, and con- 
stitutes a dark stain on the expedition. 8 

In the spring of 1541 Coronado set out to reach 
Quivira, a town of which an Indian prisoner had 
given a glowing description. It seems probable 
that the thirty-seven days' march took them north- 

1 The Tusayan Indians are identified as the Moquis, The 
cafton was twenty days' journey farther west. 
* Castafieda, in Winship, Journey of Coronado, 36. f Ibid. ,51. 


easterly, but constantly verging to the right, across 
the plains until they reached the borders of the 
present Oklahoma Territory. A further advance 
with the main force now seemed inadvisable ; but to 
verify, if possible, the stories about Quivira, Coro- 
nado went on early in June with thirty horsemen to 
the northeast. After a ride of about six weeks the 
goal was reached, and proved to be nothing more 
than a village of semi-nomadic Indians in the centre 
of the present state, of Kansas. 1 A few hundred 
miles to the southeast De Soto at this same time 
was exploring Arkansas. An Indian woman who 
had run away from Coronado's army fell in with De 
Soto's nine days later. 3 

Fertile as was the soil of the western prairies, the 
region had nothing at that time adequate to re- 
ward settlement so far inland; 3 and Coronado in 
the following spring returned to New Spain with all 
his force save two missionaries and a few others. 4 
The expedition, like De Soto's, failed of its imme- 
diate object, but it revealed the character of a 
large part of the southwest and of the trans -Mis- 
sissippi plains; and the branch expeditions had 
proved that Lower California was a peninsula and 
not an island. In the summer of 1542 the Pacific 
coast of California was explored by Cabrillo as far 

1 Coronado to the king, Winship, Journey of Coronado, 214-219; 
Bandelier, The Gilded Man, 223-251. 

3 Castafteda, in Winship, Journey of Coronado, 77. 

8 Cf . Coronado's report, ibid., 220. 

4 Jaramillo, ibid., 238-240; Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 409. 


as Cape Mendocino, named in honor of the Viceroy 

These great expeditions of De Soto and Coronado, 
undertaken for the exploration of the interior of the 
present United States a century and a half before 
La Salle, and over two centuries and a half before 
Lewis and Clark, were the natural outflow of the 
marvellous experiences of Cort6s and of Pizarro in 
Mexico and Peru, and mark the highest reach of 
Spanish energy in our own country ; nor have they 
ever been surpassed as exhibitions of skilful leader- 
ship and enduring labor by any similar enterprises 
by the French or English in North America. Their 
results were keenly disappointing at the time, but 
in the record of the exploration of the globe they 
occupy a high and honorable place among the great 
enterprises of history. 



A> a term in the political geography of Spanish 
America, the name " Florida" was equivalent 
to the eastern half of the present United States, or 
the country from Mexico to Newfoundland. 1 In 
1558, Philip II. authorized Luis de Velasco, viceroy 
of New Spain, to undertake the settlement of Flor- 
ida. After a preliminary reconnoissance Velasco 
despatched, in the summer of 1559, an expedi- 
tion of fifteen hundred soldiers and settlers to 
make a beginning at Pensacola Bay. 2 The site 
selected was unfavorable, but attempts to find a 
better one were not successful ; a winter of privation 
followed, and during the following summer the colony 
was much reduced. The second summer most of 
the settlers went off with Angel de Villafane to the 
Atlantic coast, to Santa Elena, Port Royal Sound. 
When he arrived there late in May, 1561, Villa- 
fane, disappointed at the unsuitableness of the 
region for a colony, continued his explorations to 

1 Lopez de Velasco, Description de las Indias, 157. 
Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 357. 



Chesapeake Bay and then returned to Espanola. 
The unhappy experiences of these colonists con- 
vinced Philip II. that the region was not likely to be 
occupied by the French, and hence he decided that 
no further attempt at colonization should be made. 1 

The very next year the unexpected happened. 
Jean Ribaut, of Dieppe, under the patronage of 
Coligny, the leader of the Huguenots in France, led 
a party of soldiers and young nobles to the east 
shore of Florida, whence they coasted as far north 
as Port Royal Sound. Here Ribaut left thirty 
men and returned to France. Want, lonesomeness, 
and contentions drove them to the desperate ex- 
pedient of building a vessel to make their escape 
from the desolate continent, but only at the cost 
of such privations as reduced them to cannibal- 
ism before they were picked up by an English 
ship. 2 

In 1564 the plans for a colony in Florida of French 
Huguenots were matured by Coligny; and the ex- 
pedition set out in June under the command of 
Ren6 de Laudonniere, a French officer and gentle- 
man who had been with Ribaut in the first voyage. 
The site selected was at the mouth of the St. John's 
River, Florida. Here a fort was built and parties 
were despatched to explore the country. There were 
few if any tillers of the soil in the company, and 

1 Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 374-376. 

2 Laudonniere, in Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII. , 417-441; Park- 
man, Pioneers of France, 3347. 

1565] FLORIDA 177 

when the first novelty wore off, restlessness and 
ennui led to quarrels, insubordination, and plots. 

Thirteen of the sailors seized one of the vessels 
and set off on a buccaneering cruise against the 
Spaniards. Want finally brought them up in 
Havana, where, to save themselves, they gave in- 
formation in regard to the colony. 1 Their example 
was soon followed by sixty-six others, tempted by 
the chances of wealth in plundering Spanish ships 
and settlements. At first successful, they came to 
grief, and less than half returned to the fort, where 
Laudonniere overpowered them and put to death 
four of the ringleaders for mutiny. 2 

In August, 1565, after a summer of extreme want, 
the wasted garrison were preparing to leave the 
country, when Ribaut arrived with several hun- 
dred colonists, soldiers, and young gentlemen, with 
some artisans and their families. 3 Ribaut also 
brought orders to Laudonniere to resign his com- 
mand and return to France. 4 

Contemporaneous with this effort of the French 
Huguenots to occupy Florida was a new project to 
colonize the country for Spain. Pedro Menendez de 
Aviles, who had served as commander of the fleet 
to New Spain, secured a patent in March, 1565, 
erecting Florida into a government and constituting 
him adelantado, governor, and captain - general. 

1 Laudonniere, in Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 473. 

2 Ibid., 479. s Parkman, Pioneers of France, 93. 
* Ibid., 94; Hakluyt, Voyages, XIII., 511. 


Menendez on his part was to take five hundred men, 
one hundred of them farmers, to explore and con- 
quer Florida, to transport settlers thither, some of 
whom were to be married, support twelve friars as 
missionaries, and supply domestic animals for the 
settlements. 1 This task Menendez undertook with 
great energy and zeal. The hazy ideas of the width 
of the continent, still prevalent even after De Soto's 
expedition, led him to think Florida near enough to 
the silver-mines of Zacatecas and St. Martin, in 
Mexico, to be substituted for Vera Cruz as the place 
of export, thus avoiding the dangers to health in 
that town and enabling traffic to escape the perilous 
and tedious navigation of the gulf by an overland 
journey of perhaps a hundred league? longer than 
that to Vera Cruz. In reality it was over one 
thousand miles farther from Zacatecas to Florida 
than to Vera Cruz. 2 

While Menendez was making his preparations the 
news first reached the Spanish court of the projects 
of the French. The king immediately gave orders 
that Menendez should be granted three vessels, 
two hundred cavalry, and four hundred infantry in 
the islands to drive out the French. 8 That the 
Spanish government should allow a French settle- 
ment in so important a strategic point in relation 

1 Shea, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., II., 261. 

2 Menendez to the king, Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings % ad 
series, VIII. , 435 45$. 

1 Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 67; Parkman, Pioneers of 
France , 100. 

1565] FLORIDA 179 

to their commerce with New Spain was inconceiv- 
able, and one wonders why the French promoters 
of the enterprise expected that it would be regarded 
as anything but a declaration of hostilities. 1 The 
islands were already exposed to the ravages of the 
French buccaneers. The corsair French Jacques de 
Sorie had sacked and burned Havana ten years 
before and killed thirty-four prisoners in cold blood. 3 
To furnish a basis for attacks of this sort, it was 
naturally believed by the Spanish authorities, was 
the motive of Ribaut and Laudonntere; and the 
conduct of the two detachments of mutineers only 
confirmed the supposition. 

That the intruders were heretics intensified their 
exasperation. Carefully shielding the purity of the 
faith in the New World by excluding all Spaniards 
whose progenitors had been tainted with heresy, 
they would regard an enterprise which combined 
plunder of their colonies and fleets and a corruption 
of the Indians with diabolical heresy as an extraor- 
dinary provocation, excluding the guilty plotters from 
any claim to mercy. 

Menendez, with a company of over two thousand 
six hundred persons, all maintained at his own ex- 

1 Ribaut's instructions contemplated hostilities. Parkman, 
Pioneers of France, 115, n. 

3 Shea, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., 261, 275. See the 
certified statement in Buckingham Smith, Col. de Docs, de la 
Florida, 202-208. Jacques de Sorie is described as a Picard or 
Norman, and, "grandisimo hereje Luterano," the churches 
were burned and the images mutilated. 


pense, except one ship and about three hundred 
soldiers paid by the king, left Cadiz, June 29, about 
the time Ribaut must have left Dieppe. 1 On the 
night of September 4, off the coast of Florida, Menen- 
dez fell in with some of Ribaut 's ships, and in 
response to inquiries announced his instructions to 
hang and burn the Lutheran French to be found 
there. 2 The French ships escaped in the darkness, 
and Menendez continued on his way to his new 
domain. September 6, 1565, a landing was made 
and a fort begun which may be considered the 
foundation of St. Augustine, the oldest town in the 
United States. Two days later Menendez landed 
and took formal possession of the territory. 3 

His forces were not so superior to Ribaut' s as to 
prevent his situation being one of peril. A storm, 
however, scattered Ribaut 's ships, and Menendez 
decided to attack the French by land. A stealthy 
march, a desperate assault on a sleeping garrison 
just before daybreak amid a pouring rain, and soon 
all was over. One hundred and thirty men lay 
dead in and around the fort. 4 The women and chil- 
dren under fifteen Menendez ordered to be spared. 5 

1 Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 69. 

'Menendez to the king, Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2d 
series, VIII., 420; Mendoza Grajales, the chaplain of the ex- 
pedition, in French, Hist. Coll. of Louisiana and Florida, II., an. 

8 Mendoza Grajales, ibid., 217-219. 

4 September 20, Menendez to the king, ibid., 426. The state- 
ments about the number vary somewhat. Cf . Parkman , Pioneers 
of France, 127, and Shea, in Winsor, Nan . and Crit. Hist., 272. 

1 Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, i. 

1565] FLORIDA 181 

Of them he wrote to the king, <4 There were, between 
women, infants, and boys of fifteen years and under, 
some fifty persons, whom it gives me the greater 
pain to see in the company of my men, by reason 
of their wicked sect, and I have feared that our 
Lord would chastise me if I shall deal cruelly 
with them, for eight or ten children were born 
here." l 

About fifty persons escaped the slaughter by 
swimming across the river or by taking boats to the 
ships. One of the ships was sunk by the guns of 
the fort. The other slipped down the river a few 
miles where there were two more. Menendez de- 
termined to capture them if possible. In his ab- 
sence word was brought that some twenty French- 
men had come in from the woods, and he gave 
orders to execute justice upon them. 2 A few days 
later, after Menendez had returned to St. Augustine, 
he heard of a party of Frenchmen some twenty 
miles distant to the south. He set out immediately 
with a small force against them. From their spokes- 
man he learned that Ribaut's fleet, consisting of 
four galleons and eight pinnaces with four hundred 
picked men and two hundred sailors, which had put 
out in search of the Spaniards, had been struck by a 
hurricane, that three of the galleons had gone down 

1 Menendez to the king, Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, ad 
series, VIII., 427. He sent them to Santo Domingo as soon as 
possible Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 87; in English in French, 
Hist. Coll. of Louisiana and Florida, II., 218. 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, ad series, VIII., 426, 427. 


with over two hundred persons, and that Ribaut's 
flag-ship had been dismasted. 

In reply to a request for safe passage to the fort 
Menendez told him: "We held their fort, having 
taken and put to death those who were in it for 
having erected it there without the leave of your 
majesty, and because they were planting their 
wicked Lutheran sect in these your majesty's prov- 
inces, and that I made war with fire and blood as 
governor and captain - general of these provinces 
upon all who might come to these parts to settle and 
to plant this evil Lutheran sect, seeing that I came 
by your majesty's command to bring the gospel into 
these parts, to enlighten the natives thereof with 
that which is told and believed by the holy mother 
church of Rome for the salvation of their souls ; that 
therefore I should not give them passage, but, on 
the contrary, should pursue them by sea and by 
land until I had their lives." l 

The Frenchmen, through a lieutenant of Lau- 
donnire, then offered to surrender if their lives 
would be spared. "I answered, " writes Menendez, 
" that they might give up their arms and place them- 
selves at my mercy; that I should deal with them 
as our Lord should command me, and that he [i.e., 
the envoy] had not moved me from this nor could 
move me, unless God our Lord should inspire in 
me something different." * According to Solis, the 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, ad series, VIII., 428. 

1565] FLORIDA 183 

brother-in-law of Menendez, who was a witness, his 
reply was that " if they wished to surrender their 
arms and banners and put themselves at his mercy 
they might do so and he would do with them as God 
should give him grace, they might do as they liked ; 
other truce or friendship they could not have." * 

It is possible that the translation of this reply into 
French made it seem to give grounds for a hope that 
did not exist. To-day, in view of what Menendez 
had declared to the first envoy, he does not seem to 
have committed himself to any mercy. Their offer 
of fifty thousand ducats as a ransom he promptly 
declined, saying "that although he was poor he 
would not do that weakness ; when he wanted to be 
liberal and merciful he would be so without self-in- 
terest. 2 After consultation the Frenchmen de- 
cided to surrender. All of them, over a hundred in 
number, except twelve Breton sailors who had been 
kidnapped and four carpenters and caulkers, were 
put to the knife in cold blood. Ever since the spot 
has borne the name Matanzas ("Slaughters "). 

Next came the turn of Ribaut and those with him. 
October 10, Menendez received news of their ap- 
proach, and went out to meet them with a body of 
one hundred and fifty men. The French asked for a 
parley, which was granted, and Menendez was then 
informed that it was Ribaut with some three hundred 
and fifty men, and that they desired safe passage to 

1 Extractin B&rcia, t EnsayoCronologico, 86; in English in French, 
Hist. CoU. of Louisiana and Florida, IL, 2 18. f Ibid. 


their fort. Again came the unrelenting answer 
that " I was his enemy and waged war against them 
with fire and blood, for that they were Lutherans, 
and because they had come to plant in these lands 
of your majesty their evil sect and to instruct the 
Indians in it." * Ribaut himself desired an inter- 
view, which was granted. It was hard for him to 
believe that his fort was captured, the garrison slain, 
and that the other party of refugees from the wreck 
had been killed, but the sight of the dead bodies on 
the sands convinced him. In response to his request 
for terms, if they should surrender, Menendez made 
the same answer that he had made a fortnight earlier. 

Ribaut consulted his men and found them divided. 
He returned and explained the situation to Menen- 
dez. Some wished to throw themselves on his mercy 
and others not. Menendez answered it made no 
difference to him; they might all come or part of 
them or none ; they might do as they liked. Ribaut 
then said that half of them would pay one hundred 
and fifty thousand ducats ransom and that the other 
half would pay more, as there were rich men among 
them. Menendez replied that it was hard to lose 
such a sum, as he was in need of it. This answer 
gave an encouragement to Ribaut for which one 
sees little ground, for if Menendez had intended to 
deceive him it would have been as easy to say " he 
should be glad to have it." 

Grasping at the chance, whatever it was, Ribaut 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 2d series, VIII., 438. 

1565] FLORIDA 185 

and one hundred and fifty of his men gave them- 
selves up. They were led by tens back of the sand- 
dunes and then asked whether they were Catholics 
or Lutherans, "and then John Ribaut replied that 
he and all that were there were of the new religion, 
and began to repeat the psalm, * Domine, memento 
mei,' and when he had finished he said that they 
were of the earth and to the earth must return. 
Twenty years more or less, it was all the same 
thing " l Then all were put to the knife save two 
young gentlemen about eighteen years of age and a 
drummer, a fif er, and a trumpeter. Menendez wrote 
to King Philip: "I hold it the chief good-fortune 
that he [Ribaut] is dead, because the king of France 
would do more with him with five hundred ducats 
than with others and five thousand, and he would 
do more in one year than another in ten, since he 
was the most expert sailor and corsair known, and 
very skilful in this navigation of the Indies and 
coast of Florida/' 2 

Three weeks later Indians brought information 
that the rest of Ribaut's party, who refused to sur- 
render, were building a fort and a ship. Menendez 
set forth against them by forced marches with three 
hundred men. This time, affected perhaps by ad- 
verse criticism at St. Augustine, 8 or because he saw 

1 Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 88, 89; in English in French, 
Hist. Coll. of Louisiana and Florida, II., 220-221. 

2 Parkman, Pioneers of France, 114, n. 

1 Cf . Soils, in Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 89; French, Hist. 
Coll. of Louisiana and Florida, II., 222. 


that it would be impracticable to capture them and 
felt " that it would not be proper that so wicked a 
sect should remain in the land," * and possibly be- 
cause his own heart had softened, he offered them 
their lives if they would surrender. One hundred 
and fifty did so and were well treated. The captain 
and about twenty rejected the offer, sending word 
" that he would be eaten by the Indians rather than 
surrender to the Spaniards.*' 3 

The story of this tragedy has been told from the 
Spanish side, for the accounts of Menendez and 
Solis bear upon them the marks of truth so far as 
these are discoverable. They do not blink the facts, 
nor do they show signs of consciousness that there 
was need of concealment or apology. The accounts 
of the French who escaped accuse Menendez of hav- 
ing promised on oath to save the lives of those who 
surrendered. This it is difficult to believe in view 
of the whole tone of Menendez's correspondence with 
the king.* That a man of honor and religion could 
have done such a deed seems impossible to-day. 
Yet if the perplexed student will read Oliver Crom- 
well's account of the massacre at Drogheda, and if 
he will read Carlyle's comments, he may be able to 
understand why the historian Barcia accorded ad- 
miration to Menendez. 4 

1 Menendez, in Mass. Hist. Soc. t Proceedings, ad series, VI II. ,440. 
1 Solis, in Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 90. 
'Shea, whose account is critical and impartial, rejects the 
French assertions on this point. 
4 The massacre of the English at Amboyna by the Dutch in 

1567] FLORIDA 187 

The French king, Charles IX., and his stronger 
mother, Catherine de' Medici, demanded reparation 
urgently and repeatedly; but Philip II. only said 
that he was sorry for what had happened, and in- 
sisted that Admiral Coligny was responsible for 
having authorized the French to occupy Spanish 
territory, and that he ought to be punished; re- 
dress he refused to give. 1 To Menendez, however, 
he expressed his approval of his conduct. In the 
state of politics and religion in France a breach with 
Spain seemed to the leaders of the Catholic party 
out of the question; they did not venture beyond 

A private adventurer, Dominic de Gourgues, so 
the accepted story runs, then took upon himself the 
responsibility of avenging his countrymen, setting 
out from France in the summer of 1567 with three 
vessels, under a commission to capture slaves in 
Africa. After selling his cargo in Espanola, when 
off the western end of Cuba he revealed his proj- 
ect to his men. They soon fell in with the plan, 
and De Gourgues made his way to the St. John's 
River to attack the Spanish fort San Mateo, which 
was the successor of Laudonnire's Fort Caroline. 
First two outposts lower down the river, then the 
fort itself, were taken by assault. All the Spaniards 

1623, although the numbers were much smaller, was attended by 
more pitiless cruelties than was the case in Florida. Cf. Gardi- 
ner, History of England, V., 242. 

1 Parkman, Pioneers of France, 151-156. 


that escaped the sword were hanged, with the in- 
scription placed above them: "Not as Spaniards, 
but as traitors, robbers, and murderers/' He then 
razed the forts, and returned to France, hoping for 
a recognition which only the Huguenots gave. 1 

It is a singular fact that a most careful search in 
the Spanish archives failed to find "the slightest 
allusion to any such capture of San Mateo and the 
two adjacent forts ; 2 nor do the papers of the 
Menendez family appear to have contained any 
material on this incident, since the Spanish his- 
torian Barcia, who utilized those papers, had no 
sources save the French narrative. That account 
says nothing of the existence of St. Augustine, and, 
on the other hand, the existence of two forts be- 
sides San Mateo is unknown to the contemporary 
Spanish sources. 3 To these perplexities may be 
added the fact that Juan Lopez de Velasco, the 
cosmographer of the Council of the Indies, writing 
in 1571-1574, in his account of Florida, knows 
nothing of De Gourgues's raid in 1568, but says that 
Fort San Mateo was abandoned in i57o. 4 

Historians have told the tale as one of poetic 

1 Parkman, Pioneers of France, 157-177; La Reprinse de la 
Floride par le Cappitaine Gourgues, in French, Hist. Coll. of 
Louisiana and Florida, II., 267-289. The story of De Gourgues's 
expedition first appeared in detailed form in 1586, nineteen years 
after the event, in Basanier, LHistoire Notable de la Floride. 

1 Shea, in his edition of Charlevoix, New France, I., 338. 

Shea, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., II., 280, 297. 

4 Juan Lopez de Velasco, Geografia y Descripcion Universal de 
las Indias desde el ano de 1571 al de 1574, 162. 

i 5 68] FLORIDA 189 

justice, and religious sympathies have naturally 
been enlisted on the side of the avenger. Yet it 
should not be forgotten that, merciless and cruel as 
was Menendez's deed the nearest parallel to the 
bloody massacres of the Crusades or of the religious 
wars in Europe that ever happened in our country's 
history he was the constituted authority in Florida, 
and was acting in general pursuance of instructions 
from his king. He looked upon the French colo- 
nists as corsairs, which, in fact, at least some of them 
were. That the French had a right to establish a 
colony in Florida can hardly be maintained; their 
own claim was based on a purely fictitious discov- 
ery in the fifteenth century. De Gourgues, acting 
as a private adventurer, had no color of law on his 

The tragedy was the end of French colonization 
on the southern main-land for nearly a century and 
a half; and the end forever of the attempts to es- 
tablish a Huguenot refuge and power on this side 
of the sea. Their contribution to American life 
was to be made as individuals, a sturdy leaven in 
a congenial though foreign society. On the other 
hand, neither Menendez nor his heirs or descendants 
succeeded in founding a flourishing Spanish com- 
munity in Florida. Equally without permanent 
success were the repeated efforts of missionary bands 
to convert the Indians. 



REAT as have been the political and religious 
changes of the last one hundred years, they fall 
short of those which took place in the three gener- 
ations following the first voyage of Columbus. A 
man like Las Casas, who was approaching maturity 
in 1492, saw the discovery of a new world, the open- 
ing to European traffic of the three vast oceans, the 
circumnavigation of the globe, the setting forth of 
the Copernican theory of the solar system, the estab- 
lishment of the Spanish Empire in the New World, 
and the Protestant revolution, events in their 
novelty and their far-reaching consequences surpass- 
ing anything in the history of mankind since the 
establishment of the Roman Empire and the advent 
of Christianity. 

In three of these epoch-making processes Spain 
took the leading part; and it will be suitable in this 
place before taking up the special phases of her work 
in America to make a brief survey of what had been 
accomplished by Spanish enterprise in somewhat 
less than a century. To appreciate the total achieve- 



ment, it is necessary to remind the reader that Spain 
was not a rich country, that her area was about 
equal to that of New England, New York, Pennsyl- 
vania, and Ohio combined, that her population at 
the end of this period was somewhat smaller than 
that of New York to-day, and somewhat larger than 
that of Pennsylvania. 1 Most of this work, however, 
fell to natives of the kingdom of Castile, whose pop- 
ulation was probably half a million less than that of 

Taking up first the extension of geographical 
knowledge, we have to record the exploration of the 
Atlantic coast-line from Nova Scotia to Cape Horn 2 
and of the Pacific coast-line from the Straits of 
Magellan as far north as Oregon. 8 The Pacific had 
been crossed both north and south of the equator 
going west; and the proper eastward course, after 
repeated failures, was discovered in 1565 by Ur- 
daneta. 4 The empires of Mexico and of the Incas 
had been conquered, and their wealth had become 
the support and the stimulus to the most arduous 
and heroic overland explorations of modern times. 
Pedro de Alvarado, in 1534, tempted by the desire 
to rival the Pizarros, diverted an expedition des- 

1 Habler, Die Wirtkschaftliche Blute Spaniens im 16 
hundcrt und ihr V erf all, 150, places the population of Spain in 
1550 at about 6,800,000. 

2 Cape Horn was discovered, but not rounded, in 1596 by Fran* 
cisco de Hoces. Hugues, Cronologia, 35. 

By Juan Roderiguez Cabrillo, 1542-1543, ibid., 59. 

i 9 2 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1534 

tined to the Spice Islands to the region north of 
Peru, and forced his way through the snowy passes 
of the Andes to Quito, only to find that he had been 
anticipated by Sebastian de Benalcazar. 1 In 1537 
Benalcazar made his way to Bogotd,, which place 
was also reached up the Magdalena River from the 
Caribbean Sea by Gonzalo Ximeiies de Quesada, 
and from the basin of the Orinoco by the German 
Federmann, sent out by the Welsers, of Augsburg, 
under a license from the emperor Charles V. 2 In 
1537 also the lawyer Vadillo organized an expedition 
at an expense of one hundred thousand pesos to 
march overland from Cartagena to Peru. After 
a year of extraordinary exertions and hardships, 
during which ninety-two of the three hundred and 
fifty Spaniards died, they reached Call, in the 
southern part of the modern Colombia, where, like 
Alvarado, they found themselves anticipated. 8 

Juan de Ayolas, in 1535, went up the Parand and 
the Paraguay as far as twenty degrees south lati- 
tude, and then across the plains to Peru. 4 Five 
years later Martinez de Irala went up the Paraguay 
to the seventeenth parallel and opened the perma- 
nent line of communication between Peru and the 
river Plate region. 5 In the middle of the continent 
Gonzalo Pizarro crossed the eastern Andes from 

1 Prescott, Conquest of Peru, II., 13-22. 

'Hugues, Cronologia, 48. 

Herrera, Historic* General^ dec. VI., lib. VII. , chap. iv. 

4 Hugues, Cronologia, 49. * Ibid. 


Quito, and his lieutenant Orellana, embarking on 
the Napo, floated down that stream into the Ma- 
ration and the Amazon, and reached the Atlantic 
after a navigation of seven months and three thou- 
sand miles. 1 In the western Cordilleran region 
Almagro penetrated Chili from Peru and returned 
by the coastal lowlands, 1535-1537, with difficul- 
ties and sufferings as great in the sandy deserts as 
in the mountain wilderness. 2 

In the present United States the story of the in- 
terior exploration is more familiar. Beginning with 
the wanderings of Cabega de Vaca from eastern 
Texas to the Gulf of California, it was followed up in 
the southwest by Friar Marcos, of Nice, introducing 
the vaster enterprise of Coroijado, who covered the 
region from Mexico to Kansas ; and in the east by the 
expedition of De Soto, which, while failing of its 
immediate objects, enriched geographical knowl- 
edge with the earliest descriptions of our southern 
inland region from Florida to Arkansas, and re- 
corded the first undoubted discovery of the Missis- 

During this period the explorations of the French 
were limited to the voyages of Verrazano, Cartier, 
and Roberval; while the English, after the first 
ventures of John Cabot, did nothing to add to the 
knowledge of geography, with the possible exception 
of the Cabot voyage of 1508-1509. Even the great 

1 Prescott, Conquest of Peru, II., 153-170. 
1 Ibid., II., 83-90. 

j 9 4 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1574 

achievements of Champlain, La Salle, and other 
French explorers of the seventeenth century pale be- 
fore the exploits of the Spaniards in the previous age. 
If we turn to colonization and conquest we find 
the same disparity ; for the results of the first eighty 
years of English and French colonization, compared 
with the work done by the Spaniards, were small, 
notwithstanding their great significance for the 
future. In the first three generations that followed 
the settlement at Jamestown, communities of Eng- 
lishmen had been planted on the Atlantic coast and 
along the course of streams from Maine to South 
Carolina. New England had a white population 
of perhaps eighty thousand in 1700;* in New York, 
in 1698, there were perhaps eighteen thousand of 
European extraction; 2 Virginia was the home of 
about forty thousand in 1671,* and in Maryland 
there were perhaps twenty thousand in 1:676. In 
the Carolinas and the Jerseys by 1690 there were 
perhaps twenty-five thousand more, making a total 
of certainly less than two hundred thousand whites 
in the English colonies about the year 1690. Chal- 
mers estimated the white population of the English 
settlements in 1715 at about three hundred and 
seventy-five thousand. 4 Of Christianized Indians 
there were few outside of New England, and there 

1 Doyle, English in America, II., 497, 498. 

8 Lodge, Short Hist, of the Eng. Cols., 312. 

1 Governor Berkeley's report, in Hart, Contemporaries, I. f 239. 

4 Fiske, Old Virginia, II., 169. 


the number was much less than before King Philip's 
War. In 1674 Gookin estimated the total for Mas- 
sachusetts and Plymouth at eighteen hundred. 1 

In the English colonies institutions for the educa- 
tion of the Indians were projected in the seventeenth 
century, but not realized except in so far as the 
foundation of Harvard College was designed to ef- 
fect that end. 2 Roger Williams had written on 
their language and customs, and Eliot had trans- 
lated the Bible into the Natick dialect. For the 
higher education of the whites Harvard was the sole 
foundation until 1693; an d on ly two other colleges 
were established during the next fifty years. There 
were in the colonies during their first century little 
accumulated wealth, but harc^y any poverty, few 
fine buildings, and scant traces of artistic feeling. 
On the other hand, the English in America were 
building up self-governing communities which in 
some cases were almost independent states. They 
were the scenes of experiments of democracy and 
religious toleration of epoch-making significance. 
The foundations of a great people had been laid. 

If we now compare what the Spaniards accom- 
plished in the sixteenth century with the work of 
the English in the seventeenth we shall appreciate 
that, although it was different in character and less 

1 Doyle, English in America, II., 202. 

3 In Virginia in 1619, Bruce, Economic History of Virginia, I., 
228; in Massachusetts, Doyle, II., 78; Cat. of State Pap., Col., 
1650; charter of Harvard College, 1650, Harvard University 


in accord with our predilections or prejudices, it 
was, nevertheless, one of the great achievements of 
human history. They undertook the magnificent 
if impossible task of lifting a whole race numbering 
millions into the sphere of European thought, life, 
and religion. Yet this thought and life and religion 
were so different in many respects from the ideals 
which now appeal to the descendants of the seven- 
teenth-century English Protestant that we instinc- 
tively appraise the attempt of the Spaniards both by 
modern standards and by the measure of their fail- 
ure, rather than by the degree of their success. 

An outline of what they had accomplished may 
be drawn from what is substantially a census of 
Spanish America in 1574. In 1576 Juan Lopez de 
Velasco, in his capacity as cosmographer and his- 
torian to the Council of the Indies, prepared a " De- 
scription of the Indies " which far surpasses in de- 
tail and completeness any official report on the 
English colonies till the time of Chalmers. 1 In 1574 
Velasco enumerates in the New World some two 
hundred Spanish cities and towns with some min- 
ing settlements. These towns, together with the 
stock-farms and plantations, contained about one 
hundred and sixty thousand Spaniards, of whom 
about four thousand were encomenderos i.e., lords 
of Indian serfs and the rest settlers, miners, traders, 
and soldiers. Of Indians there were approximately 

1 Juan Lopez de Velasco, Geografia y Description Universal 
de las Indias (Justo Zaragoza's ed.). 


eight or nine thousand villages, inclusive of tribes or 
parts of tribes not yet civilized, containing one 
million five hundred thousand Indian men of trib- 
ute-paying age (fifteen to sixty), or an aproximate 
Indian population of about five million, not counting 
the considerable number who escaped taxation either 
because not yet reduced to village life or because 
they hid away. The Indians were divided into three 
thousand seven hundred repartimientos belonging 
to the king or to private persons. In addition there 
were about forty thousand negro slaves and a large 
number of mestizos and mulattoes. The great 
mass of the Indians were nominally Christians and 
were living as civilized men and their numbers 
increasing. 1 

In following Velasco's account of the various colo- 
nies we see how the superior attractiveness of Mex- 
ico, Central America, and Peru, and the restrictions 
on commerce, had largely depleted the population 
of the islands. In Espanola there remained only 
ten Spanish villages with a population of about one 
thousand Spaniards, engaged principally in sugar- 
growing and stock-raising, with the labor of some 
twelve thousand negro slaves. The city of Santo 
Domingo a few years before had a Spanish popula- 
tion of one thousand seven hundred, but in 1574 
only one thousand and two. Of Indians there were 
left only two villages. In Cuba there were seven 
towns (villas) and one city, but their total Spanish 

1 Velasco, i, 2. 

I 9 8 SPAIN IN AMERICA [13 74 

population was only two hundred and forty. There 
were nine Indian hamlets and about two hundred 
and seventy married Indians. Santiago, which had 
once contained a thousand Spaniards, now was the 
home of only thirty. The Spanish population of 
Havana was only seventy. Porto Rico and Ja- 
maica were in the same plight, slowly stifling for 
lack of a market. 1 Venezuela was somewhat better 
off, but here, too, the tale is of poverty. 

It is only when we follow the islanders and go to 
New Spain that we find progress and prosperity. In 
the city of Mexico in 1574 there were about fifteen 
thousand Spaniards encomenderos, merchants, 
miners, mechanics and about one hundred and fifty 
thousand Indians. Besides the public buildings, 
the churches, and the monasteries, there were a 
university, a boys' and girls' high-school, four hos- 
pitals, of which one was for Indians ; in the Spanish 
quarter well-built houses of wood, stone, and mason 
work. 2 To the north of Mexico lay a typical Indian 
province, that of Teotlalpa, of some six hundred 
square miles, with no Spanish towns save two min- 
ing settlements with perhaps one hundred and 
thirty Spaniards. There were twenty-six Indian 
villages with one hundred and fourteen thousand 
Indians paying tribute, fifteen monasteries averag- 
ing three or four friars each. 8 

In the bishopric of Tlaxcala to the east there were 
only two Spanish towns, Los Angeles and Vera 

1 Velasco, 94-134. * Ibid., 188-190. 8 Ibid., 194-196. 


Cruz. The two hundred Indian villages contained 
two hundred and fifteen thousand tributaries, di- 
vided into one hundred and twenty-seven reparti- 
mientos, worth one hundred and twelve thousand 
pesos a year. Sixty-one belonged to the crown, 
yielding thirty-eight thousand pesos, and sixty-six 
yielding seventy-four thousand pesos to private 
encomenderos. In the town of Vera Cruz lived 
some two hundred Spanish families, all merchants 
and shopkeepers, but no Indians. The heavy 
work was performed by some six hundred negro 
slaves as porters and stevedores. The sickly cli- 
mate accounts for the three hospitals in so small a 
place. 1 

In Yucatan, not counting Tabasco, there were four 
Spanish towns, with some three hundred house- 
holders, one hundred and thirty of them encomen- 
deros, the rest planters living on their plantations, 
traders, and officials. 2 In South America, Velasco 
reckoned one hundred Spanish settlements with a 
total of thirteen thousand five hundred households. 
Some two thousand of the Spaniards were enco- 
menderos, the rest farmers and traders. The Ind- 
ians were not reduced to village life as generally as 
in the north, but the number of tributaries is put at 
eight hundred and eighty thousand. The Indians 
on the plains were diminishing in number, while 
those in the uplands were increasing. 8 The aspects 
of Spanish life were not dissimilar to those in the 

1 Velasco, 207-213. * Ibid., 247- 


north: stock-raising, growing cereals, sugar-cane, 
wool, etc;, were the principal occupations. 1 The 
city of Quito contained some four hundred Spanish 
families, three monasteries, and a hospital. In the 
Franciscan monastery there was an Indian school. 2 

In Lima, the "City of the Kings, " the capital of 
the viceroyalty of Peru, there were some two thou- 
sand Spanish families, thirty of them encomenderos, 
the rest traders and officials. The Indian population 
of the district was twenty-five or twenty-six thou- 
sand, divided into one hundred and thirty-six re- 
partimientos, of which six belonged to the crown. 
The wealth of Peru redounded to the prosperity of 
the church, for Lima contained five monasteries and 
two convents, a convent for mestizo girls and a 
house of sisters of charity, two large and rich hos- 
pitals, one for Spaniards and one for Indians. 8 In 
institutions of learning Lima was in 1570, as always, 
far behind Mexico. 

The foregoing presents the results of Spanish colo- 
nization from the stand-point of the historian and 
geographer of the Council of the Indies. If now we 
review the same events with the eyes of the old cam- 
paigner of the conquest, Bernal Diaz, as he looks 
back forty-seven years, we see that first there come 
to his mind the wonderful changes in the life and 
condition of the Indians, changes in range and char- 
acter perhaps not equalled before in the history of 
the race in so short a time. Instead of the fearful 

1 Velasco, 337. * Ibid., 432. 3 Ibid., 463-466. 


temples of Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca, smok- 
ing with human sacrifice and dripping with blood of 
victims, there are Christian churches; while upon the 
Indians themselves have been bestowed the hardly 
won prizes of ages of slow progress, the developed 
arts, the various domestic animals, the grains, vege- 
tables, and fruits, the use of letters and the printing- 
press, and the forms of government. 1 As the child 
physically and mentally passes rapidly through the 
earlier stages of the development of the race, so the 
natives of New Spain in a generation and a half were 
lifted through whole stages of human evolution. If 
these gifts came through war and conquest, so Ro- 
man culture came to Gaul and Britain. 

1 Bernal Diaz, Historia Verdaderp, chaps, ccviii., ccix. 



THE Spanish colonial empire lasted three cen- 
turies, a period nearly as long as that of the 
sway of imperial Rome over western Europe. Dur- 
ing these ten generations the language, the religion, 
the culture, and the political institutions of Castile 
were transplanted over an area twenty times as large 
as that of the parent state. What Rome did for 
Spain, Spain in turn did for Spanish America. In 
surveying, therefore, the work of Spain in the New 
World, we must realize from the start that we are 
studying one of the great historical examples of the 
transmission of culture by the establishment of im- 
perial domain, and not, as in the case of English 
America, by the growth of little settlements of im- 
migrants acting on their own impulse. 

The colonial systems of Spain and of England 
have often been compared, to the great disparage- 
ment of the work of Spain ; but the comparison of 
unlike and even contrasted social processes is more 
misleading than instructive. If we seek in English 



history a counterpart to the Spanish colonial em- 
pire, we shall find it rather in India than in Massa- 
chusetts or Virginia. Even here qualifications are 
necessary, for America never sustained such enor- 
mous masses of people as are found in India; and, 
small on the whole as was Spanish migration to the 
New World, it was relatively much larger than the 
English migration to India. Nor as yet have the 
people of Hindustan absorbed so much of the culture 
of the ruling nation in its various aspects as did the 
Indians in the American possessions of Spain. 

It will be nearer the truth if we conceive of Span- 
ish America as an intermediate and complex prod- 
uct, approximating on the political side to British 
India, on the social side in some respects to Roman 
Africa, and in the West Indies to the English plan- 
tation colonies in Virginia and South Carolina. 
British India is a more extreme example of imperial 
rule than is presented by New Spain and Peru ; there 
was a far less ethnic divergence between the Roman 
and the Gaul or Briton than between the Spaniard 
and the red men, and the absorption of Roman 
culture was more complete in the ancient than in the 
modern instance. 

In the West Indies and southern colonies of the 
English the same conditions confronted both Eng- 
land and Spain, and here a comparison of their re- 
spective systems is instructive ; but for a fair counter- 
part to the English colonies of the north Atlantic 
seaboard we look in vain in the Spanish world, for 


Spain, in the commercial interest of Peru, steadily 
neglected the opportunity to develop the La Plata 
River country, where, alone of all her empire, there 
has sprung up since the era of independence and the 
rise of steam transportation a community rivalling 
the Mississippi Valley, in its wealth from agriculture 
and grazing, in its attractiveness to European emi- 
gration, and in the rapidity of its growth. 

Of the three general divisions of their empire the 
imperial dependencies of Peru and Mexico, the plan- 
tation colonies of the islands, and the unutilized 
areas of La Plata the Spaniards always regarded 
the first as the most important; and it was only 
when these slipped from their grasp that the re- 
sources of the West Indies were adequately devel- 
oped. Hence in a survey of Spanish colonial insti- 
tutions our study will be mainly directed, after a 
brief examination of the beginnings of the West 
Indies, to Mexico, Central America, and Peru. 

The earliest outline of a distinctive colonial policy 
for the new discoveries was drawn up by Columbus 
shortly before his second voyage. In this paper he 
proposed that emigration should be allowed at first 
up to the number of two thousand households to 
Espanola; that three or four towns should be found- 
ed, with municipal governments similar to those in 
Castile; that gold hunting should be restricted to 
actual settlers in the towns; that there should be 
churches with parish priests or friars to conduct 
divine worship and convert the Indians; that no 


colonist should go off prospecting without a license 
or without having given his oath to return to his 
town and render a faithful account of his findings ; 
that all gold brought in should be smelted at once 
and stamped with the town mark ; that one per cent, 
be set apart for the support of the church ; that the 
privilege of gold hunting be limited to certain sea- 
sons so that planting and other business would not 
be neglected ; that there should be free opportunity 
to all to go on voyages of discovery ; that one or two 
ports in Espanola be made the exclusive ports of 
entry, and that all ships from the island should re- 
port at Cadiz. 1 

In the following January, Columbus, further in- 
structed by experience as to the actual difficulties 
of establishing a colony in a distant tropical island, 
supplemented these proposals with the recommen- 
dations which were summarized above. 2 The most 
notable addition is the suggestion to ship to Spain 
captives taken from the cannibals so as to pay for 
the importations of cattle and provisions. Of all 
the productions of this new world the only ones im- 
mediately marketable in Spain were the precious 
metals and the inhabitants. These two documents 
reveal Columbus' s ideas as to a colonial policy for 
Spain. They forecast several features of the sys- 
tem as subsequently developed, and establish his 
right to be regarded as the pioneer law-giver of the 

l Thacher, Columbus, III., 94-113, also translated in Amer. 
Hist. Assoc., Report, 1894, pp. 45 2 ff - * See above, p. 37. 


New World, a distinction which has been eclipsed 
by his failure or misfortunes as viceroy. 

In the narrative of the second voyage of Colum- 
bus the beginnings of the history of the colony in 
Espafiola were touched upon. 1 It was there noted 
that after the suppression of the revolt of the natives 
in 1495 a system of tribute was imposed upon them. 
In commutation of this tribute, perhaps in pursuance 
of the suggestion of the cacique Guarionex, 2 the 
labor of the Indians on the farms of the Spaniards 
was accepted, this being the manner in which they 
rendered services to their own caciques. 8 

Two years later, one of the conditions exacted by 
the followers of the Spanish insurgent Roldan, when 
they came to terms with the admiral, was to be 
granted citizenship and lands. In fulfilling this last 
stipulation Columbus allotted to each of them the 
cultivated lands of the Indians, apportioning to one 
ten thousand cassava plants or hillocks and to an- 
other twenty thousand. These allotments, reparti- 
mientos, or encomiendas, as they were subsequently 
called, carried with them the enforced labor of the 
Indians, 4 and were the beginning of a system almost 
universally applied in Spanish America to make the 
colonies self-supporting. 

1 See above, chap. iv. 

* Las Casas, Historia, II., 103. 

1 Herrera, Historic, General, dec. I., lib. III., chap. xiii. 

4 Las Casas, Historia, I., 373. Las Casas draws no other 
distinction between " repartimiento " and " encomienda " than 
that noted in the text, that " encomienda " was the later term. 


The next advance in the development of colonial 
institutions was made under the administration of 
Ovando, who came out in 1502 to take the place of 
Bobadilla and upon whom fell the burden of estab- 
lishing ordered life there. Ovando was a man of 
scrupulous integrity and unbending firmness, just to 
the Spaniards, but relentless in striking unexpected 
and terrible blows if convinced or suspicious of in- 
tended Indian revolt. Las Casas' affecting pictures 
of some instances of these terrorizing strokes have 
blackened Ovando' s name, almost completely eclips- 
ing his many admirable qualities as a governor, upon 
which Oviedo dwells with enthusiasm. 

An examination of Ovando' s instructions clearly 
reveals the ideas entertained at this date by Ferdi- 
nand and Isabella. Their first injunction was to pro- 
vide for the kindly treatment of the Indians and the 
maintenance of peaceful relations between them and 
the settlers. The Indians were to pay tribute and 
were to help in the collection of gold, receiving 
wages for their labor. Emigration must be re- 
stricted to natives of Spain; no one was to sell 
arms to the natives, nor were Jews, Moors, or recent 
converts from Mohammedanism to be allowed to go 
thither. Negro slaves born in Christian lands could 
be taken to Espanola, but not others. Great care 
should be exercised not to dispose the Indians 
against Christianity. 1 

1 Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. IV., chap, xii.; Helps, 
Spanish Conquest, I., 127-130. 


Ovando set sail with thirty-two ships and two 
thousand five hundred colonists and adventurers, 
the largest number in any one expedition in early 
American history. Among them was Las Casas, the 
historian and advocate of the Indians. The ex- 
periences of these colonists bring out into strong light 
the perplexing problem of the situation. The num- 
ber of Spaniards in the colony before the arrival of 
this force was about three hundred. 1 Many of these 
were survivors of the criminals taken over by Co- 
lumbus on his third voyage. Bobadilla, in pursuance 
of his weak policy of conciliation, had allowed them 
to extend the system of compulsory labor by the 
Indians ; and the indignant Las Casas records that 
one might see rabble who had been scourged or 
clipped of their ears in Castile lording it over the 
native chiefs. 2 Most of the Spaniards had Indian 
concubines, and other Indians as household servants 
or as draughted laborers. 3 The Spaniards who had 
relied upon mining were in poverty ; the farmers were 
fairly prosperous, and directed their efforts to breed- 
ing swine and cultivating cassava and yams and 
sweet-potatoes. 4 

Such was the community now overrun with 
gold seekers and new settlers. The prospectors 
rushed off to the mines, but found there unex- 
pected labor, "as gold did not grow on the trees." 
In a new climate, the failing supply of food quickly 

1 Las Casas, Historia, III., 33. 

* Ibid.. 3. '/Wd., 5. /Wd., 35. 


exhausted them, and they straggled back to the 
town stricken with fever. Here, without shelter, 
they died faster than the clergy could conduct 
funerals. 1 More than a thousand perished thus and 
five hundred were disabled by sickness. The fate 
that impended over the American soldiers in Cuba 
in 1898 fell upon these new settlers without mitiga- 

Ovando had been ordered to treat the Indians as 
free men and subjects of the king and queen, but he 
soon had to report that if left to themselves they 
would not work even for wages and withdrew from 
all association with the Spaniards, so that it was 
impossible to teach or convert them. To meet the 
first of these difficulties, the sovereigns instructed 
him, March, 1503, to establish the Indians in vil- 
lages, to give them lands which they could not 
alienate, to place them under a protector, to provide 
a school-house in each village that the children might 
be taught reading, writing, and CHristian doctrine, 
to prevent oppression by their chiefs, to suppress 
their native ceremonies, to make efforts to have the 
Indians marry their wives in due religious form, and 
to encourage the intermarriage of some Christians 
with the Indians, both men and women. 2 

To meet the difficulty of getting the Indians to 
work, a royal order was issued in December, 1503, 

1 Las Casas, Historic*, III., 36. 

J Fabi6, Ensayo Historico, 52; Herrera, Historia General, 
dec. I., lib. V., chap. xii. 


that the Indians should be compelled to work on 
buildings, in collecting gold, and farming for such 
wages as the governor should determine. For such 
purposes the chiefs must furnish specified num- 
bers of men, "as free men, however, and not ser- 
vants." l These two edicts fairly represent the 
colonial policy of the crown and its intentions to 
civilize the Indians. As time went on these two 
lines of effort were more and more evenly carried 
out; but at first attention was principally directed 
to making use of the labor of the Indians, and only 
incidentally to their systematic civilization. 2 

In pursuance of the royal order, Ovando allotted 
to one Spaniard fifty and to another one hundred 
Indians under their chiefs ; other allotments, or re- 
partimientos, were assigned to cultivate lands for 
the king. These assignments were accompanied 
with a patent reading, " To you, so-and-so, are given 
in trust ("se os encomiendan") under chief so-and- 
so, fifty or one hundred Indians, with the chief, for 
you to make use of them in your farms and mines, 
and you are to teach them the things of our holy 
Catholic faith." 8 At first the term of service in the 
mines lasted six months and later eight months. As 
the mines were from thirty to two hundred and fifty 
miles distant this involved prolonged separations of 

1 Las Casas, Historia, III., 65; Fabie", Ensayo Historico, 57; 
text in Docs. Ined. de Indias, XXXI., 209. 

Las Casas, Historic*, III., 70. See Van Middeldyk, History 
of Puerto Rico, 29, 45, for tables illustrating Indian allotments 
in that island. 'Las Casas, Historia, III., 71. 


husbands and wives, and upon the wives fell the 
entire burden of supporting the families. Accord- 
ing to Las Casas this separation, the consequent 
overwork of both husbands and wives, and the gen- 
eral despair led to high infant mortality and a very 
great diminution of births. If the same conditions 
existed throughout the world the human race, he 
writes, would soon die out. 1 

The rapid melting away of the population of the 
West Indies during the first quarter of a century of 
the Spanish rule was the first appearance in modern 
times of a phenomenon of familiar occurrence in the 
later history of the contact of nature peoples with 
a ruling race. 2 Through the impassioned descrip- 
tions of Las Casas, which were translated into the 
principal languages of Europe: it is the most familiar 
instance of the kind; and, as a consequence, it is 
generally believed that the Spaniards were cruel 
and destructive above all other colonists, in spite of 
the fact that in their main-land settlements the 
native stock still constitutes numerically a very 
numerous element in the population. That the 
wars of subjugation were very destructive of life is 
only too clear ; that famine followed war to prolong 
its ravages is equally certain; that the average 

1 Las Casas, Historia, III., 72. 

'Waitz, Introduction to Anthropology (London, 1863), 144- 
167, amasses a great variety of evidence illustrating this decay 
of population. Cf. also Peschel, Races of Man, 152-155; and 
G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence, II., 648-748, on " Treatment of 
Adolescent Races." 


Spaniard recklessly and cruelly overworked the 
Indians there is no doubt. 

Nevertheless, there were other and more subtle 
causes in operation. Diseases were imported by the 
whites, which were mitigated for them by some de- 
gree of acquired immunity, but which raged irre- 
sistibly through a population without that defence. 
Of these new diseases small -pox was one of the 
most destructive. 1 In the epidemic of small -pox 
in 1518 the natives, Peter Martyr reports, 2 died 
like sheep with the distemper. Small -pox ap- 
peared in Mexico at the beginning of the conquest. 
When Pamfilo de Narvaez was despatched to recall 
Cort6s, a negro on one of his ships was stricken 
with the disease, which was soon communicated 
to the Indians and raged irresistibly, sweeping off 
in some provinces half the population. 8 Mortality 
was greatly increased because in their ignorance 
they plunged into cold water when attacked. The 
disease seems to have been particularly fatal to 
women. Eleven years later came an epidemic of a 
disease called "sarampion," which carried off great 
numbers. 4 At more or less long intervals the Indian 
populations were swept by a pestilence from which 

1 On the small-pox, see Waitz, Introduction to Anthropology, 


8 Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis. dec. III., lib. VIII.; 
Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 296. 

1 Motolinia, Historic, de los Indios de la Nueva Espana, in Col. 
de Docs, para la Hist, de Mexico, I., 15; Herrera, Historia 
General, dec. II., lib. X., chap, xviii. 

4 Motolinia, Historia, 15. 


the whites were exempt. It was known in Mexico as 
the "rnatlazahuatl," and in 1545 and 1576 it caused 
an enormous mortality. 1 Humboldt conjectured 
that possibly this might be the same as the pesti- 
lence which visited Massachusetts in 1618, sweeping 
off the vast majority of the Indian population. 2 
Jourdanet finds evidence of endemic typhus and 
pleuropneumonia in Mexico at the time of the con- 
quest, but that yellow fever did not appear until 
the next century. Besides the famines consequent 
upon the conquest, those incident to a failure of the 
crops were a wide - reaching cause of depopulation 
from which Mexico on occasion suffered comparably 
to India in the nineteenth century. 3 

Just what the population of Espanola was when 
Columbus discovered the island there is no means 
of knowing, but there can be no doubt that the esti- 
mates of Las Casas that there were over three million 
people in the island is a wild exaggeration. 4 Oscar 
Peschel, an experienced ethnologist and a critical 
historian, after weighing all the evidence, places the 
population of Espanola in 1492 at less than three 

1 See Jourdanet, "Considerations Me*dicales sur la Campagne 
de Fernand CorteV' in his ed. of Bernal Diaz, 895. 

* Cf. extract from Johnson, "Wonder-working Providence," in 
Hart, American History Told by Contemporaries, I., 368; H. H. 
Bancroft, Mexico, III., 75 6 - 

Cf. Humboldt, New Spain, I., 121. 

4 Las Casas, Historia, III., 101. The prevalent Spanish 
estimate was one million one hundred thousand, ibid.; Oviedo, 
Historia General, I., 71; Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, III., 
dec. III., lib. VIII.; Hakluyt, Voyages, V., 296. 


hundred thousand and at over two hundred thou- 
sand. In 1508 the number of the natives was sixty 
thousand; in 1510, forty-six thousand; in 1512, 
twenty thousand; and in 1514, fourteen thousand. 1 

In 1548 Oviedo doubted whether five hundred 
natives of pure stock remained, and in 1570 only 
two villages of Indians were left. A similar fate 
befell all the islands. Accelerated as this extermi- 
nation was by the cruelty and greed of the early 
Spanish colonists, the history of the native stock in 
the Sandwich Islands, which has been exempt from 
conquest and forced labor, indicates that it was per- 
haps inevitable, without the adjunct of ruthless ex- 
ploitation. The same phenomenon appeared among 
the less numerous aborigines of our eastern states 
where there was little enslavement of the Indians. 
But here there was no Las Casas, and the disappear- 
ance of the natives was regarded as providential. 

Daniel Denton in 1670, in recording the rapid 
decrease of the Indian population of Long Island, 
quaintly observes: " It hath been generally observed 
that where the English come to settle, a divine hand 
makes way for them by removing or cutting off the 
Indians either by wars one with the other or by 
some raging mortal disease." 3 

The melancholy fate of these nature folk and the 
romantic incidents of the Spanish conquest have 

1 Peschel, Zeitalier der Entdeckungen, 430; Oviedo, Hisloria 
General, I., 71; Lopez de Velasco, Geografia y Description, 97. 
* Denton, New York (ed. 1902), 45. 


naturally obscured the more humdrum phases of 
their earlier colonial history, and have given rise to 
such erroneous assertions as the following: " Not the 
slightest thought or recognition was given during 
the first half -century of the invasion to any such 
enterprise as is suggested by the terms colonization, 
the occupancy of soil for husbandry and domestica- 
tion." l How far from true such a sweeping state- 
ment is, appears from the equipment of Columbus' s 
second voyage, from the offer of supplies for a year 
to all settlers in I498, 2 and from the provisions made 
by the sovereigns to promote colonization in con- 
nection with his third voyage, which have been sum- 
marized in an earlier chapter. 

In addition to the arrangements there quoted, in 
order to promote colonizatioft the king and queen 
exempted from the payment of duties necessary 
articles taken to the Indies; and granted a similar 
exemption upon articles of every sort imported from 
the Indies. 8 Further, they ordered that there 
should be prepared a sort of public farm open to 
cultivation by Spaniards in the island, who should 
receive as a loan to start with fifty bushels of wheat 
and corn and as many couple of cows and mares and 
other beasts of burden. 4 This loan was to be paid 
back at harvest with a tenth part of the crop; the 
rest the cultivators could retain for themselves or 

1 G. E. Ellis, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., II. , 301. 
1 Memorials of Columbus, 91 ; Navarrete, Viages, II., 167. 
1 Fabig, Ensayo Historico, 32. 
4 Memorials of Columbus, 74; Navarrete, Viages, II., 183. 


sell. In July of the same year, 1497, in response to 
petitions from actual and proposed settlers in Es- 
pafiola for lands for cultivating grain, fruits, and 
sugar-cane, and for erecting sugar and grist mills, the 
king and queen authorized Columbus to allot lands 
free of charge to actual settlers, subject to the con- 
dition that they live there four years and that all 
the precious metals be reserved for the crown. 1 

Five years later Luis de Arriaga, a gentleman of 
Seville, proposed to take out to the island two hun- 
dred Biscayans, or more, with their wives, to be set- 
tled in four villages; and the sovereigns on their 
part offered free passage for these colonists, free 
land for cultivation, and exemption from taxes ex- 
cepting tithes and first-fruits for five years. Large 
reservations of the sources of monopoly profits, such 
as mines, salt-pits, Indian trade, harbors, etc., were 
made for the crown ; but the terms for farming were 
certainly liberal. Arriaga was unable to get to- 
gether more than forty married people, and they 
soon petitioned for a reduction of the royalties pay- 
able on gold mined and for other concessions. These 
were granted, but the colony did not preserve its 
identity and soon merged in the mass. 2 

In 1501 the crown, to promote trade with the 
Indies, and especially exports from Castile, relieved 

1 Memorials of Columbus, 127-129; Navarrete, Viages, II., 

1 Docs. Ined. de Indias, XXX., 526; Las Casas, Historia, III., 
36-38; Southey, History of the West Indies, 77. 


this commerce entirely from the payment of duties. 1 
Still further, as early as 1503, Ovando was instructed 
to promote the cultivation of mulberry-trees that 
the silk culture might be developed. 2 

One of the most remarkable efforts of the Spanish 
government to promote the colonization of the New 
World by actual workers was that made in 1518 in 
response to Las Casas' representations of the evils 
of the compulsory labor of the Indians. Those 
that would go to Terra-Firma were offered free pas- 
sage and their living on board ship, promised the 
attendance of physicians, and upon arrival at their 
destination lands and live-stock; for twenty years 
they were to be relieved of the alcabala, or tax on 
exchanges, and all taxes on their produce except the 
church tithes. Further premiums were offered of 
$200 for the first one who produced twelve pounds 
of silk; of $150 for the one who first gathered ten 
pounds of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, or other spices ; 
of $100 for the first fifteen hundredweight of woad, 
and $65 for the first hundredweight of rice. 8 

A formal expression of contemporary opinion in 
Espanola as to the needs of the colony towards the 
end of Ovando' s administration affords us an inter- 
esting picture of its general condition and of the 

1 Docs.Ined. de Indias, XXXI. , 6a ff.; Fabi6, Ensayo Historico, 

1 Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. V., chap, xii.; Southey, 
History of the West Indies, 91. 

1 Col. de Docs. Ined. de Ultramar, IX. (Docs. Leg., II.), 77-83; 
Fabi6, Ensayo Historico, 163-164. 


spirit of the inhabitants, and of the defects in the 
government trade policy. Two proctors or repre- 
sentatives of the people presented a petition to King 
Ferdinand in 1508 in which they ask for assistance in 
building stone churches and additional endowments 
for their hospitals; for permission to engage in the 
local coasting trade ; that all the natives of Spain be 
allowed to engage in trade with Espanola ; that their 
imports of wine be not limited to that grown near 
Seville; that they may bring in Indians from the 
neighboring islands, which are of little use and not 
likely to be settled ; that by this means the Indians 
could be more easily converted ; for the devotion of 
the product of salt-mines to the building of public 
works ; for the establishment of a higher court of ap- 
peals; for more live-stock; that no descendants of 
Jews, Moors, or of heretics, burned or reconciled, down 
to the fourth generation, be allowed to come to the 
island ; that hogs be considered common property as 
they have multiplied so greatly and run wild ; that 
the towns be ennobled and granted arms, likewise the 
island ; that the artisans who come to the island may 
be compelled to stick to their trades and not be al- 
lowed, as they desire, to desert them and to secure an 
allotment of Indians; for the choice of sheriffs and 
notaries by election of the regidores, etc. 1 

That the Spanish authorities were not indifferent 
to the establishment of agricultural colonies in the 
West Indies is abundantly evident. That their suc- 

1 Col. d* Docs. ln*d. de Ultramar, V. (Docs. Leg., I.), 125-143. 


cess was not more striking was quite as much the 
result of the superior attractiveness of Mexico and 
Peru as of any defects in their policy. The early 
history of Espafiola compares not unfavorably with 
the early years of Virginia. Had a California of 
1849 been as accessible to the Virginia of 1620 as 
Mexico was to Espafiola in 1520, Virginia might have 
suffered a similar eclipse. 




'T'HE legal relation between Spain and her Amer- 
1 ican dominions was strikingly like that which 
the promoters of the American Revolution main- 
tained to be the proper relation between England 
and her colonies. James Madison, in 1800, wrote, 
4 'The fundamental principle of the Revolution was 
that the colonies were co-ordinate members with 
each other and with Great Britain of an empire 
united by a common executive sovereign": 1 so far 
the description exactly applies to the relation be- 
tween Castile and New Spain and Peru. "The 
legislative power, " Madison goes on to say, "was 
maintained to be as complete in each American 
parliament as in the British Parliament. " Similarly, 
legislative detachment and co-ordination existed in 
the Spanish Empire ; but since neither Spain nor the 
Spanish colonies enjoyed self-government, there was 
no question of parliamentary supremacy. The laws 
of Castile were made by the king with the advice 

1 Madison, Writings, IV., 533. 


of his councils; and the laws of Spanish America 
were made by the king through the Council of the 
Indies. In fine, Spanish America did not belong to 
Spain, but was a part of the hereditary domains of 
the sovereigns of Castile as heirs of Queen Isabella, 
with which the cortes of Castile had little more to 
do than with the kingdom of Naples or the Nether- 

That English political institutions were trans- 
planted to America by the colonists is one of the 
most familiar as well as one of the most fundamental 
facts in our history. That contemporary Spanish 
institutions and the t general machinery of govern- 
ment were likewise transplanted and adapted to 
Spanish-American conditions is less familiar but 
not less important. 

The first step in framing an administrative system 
for the government of their new possessions was 
taken by the sovereigns in May, 1493, when they 
appointed a member of their council, Juan de 
Fonseca, archdeacon of Seville, to act with the ad- 
miral in making preparations for a second voyage. 1 
For the next ten years, until the establishment of 
the Casa de Contractacion, and, in fact, during the 
entire reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, Fonseca 
was practically the colonial minister and zealously 
guarded the interests of the crown. His character 
has been blackened by the partial biographers of 
Columbus, who have followed the lead of Ferdinand 

1 Navarrete, Viages, II., 48. 


Columbus and of Las Casas ; but though some of his 
appointments were bad, and he was opposed to some 
of the plans of Columbus and to the policy of Cor- 
t6s, he retained the confidence of his sovereigns, who 
steadily promoted him. Bernaldez, the curate of 
Los Palacios, the friend and host of Columbus, tells 
us that Fonseca deserved his promotions and that 
he sustained all his dignities worthily. 1 

The second decade of Spain's colonial adminis- 
tration opens with the establishment at Seville, 
the mercantile capital of Castile, of the Casa de 
Contractacion, "at once a board of trade, a com- 
mercial court, and a clearing-house for the American 
traffic." 3 In its earliest form this body consisted 
of a treasurer, an auditor, and a factor or manager. 
The casa, or house, was to contain ample stores of 
the commodities to be shipped to the Indies, and its 
officials were to exercise close supervision over all 
commerce with the Indies, Barbary , and the Canaries, 
to select proper captains for the ships, and to keep 
themselves informed regarding conditions in the 
Indies and ways of extending trade. 

In a measure, this ordinance formally established 
what had been gradually growing up under Fonseca 
and his assistants/ As subsequently developed, the 

1 Bcrnaldez, Historic de los Reyes Catolicos, chap. cxx. v in Mass. 
Hist. Soc., Collections, jd scries, VIII., 36. 

9 Armstrong, The ISmperor Charles V., II., 47. 

9 Ordinance of January *o and June 5,1503, Navarrete, Viages, 
II., 985; H. H. Bancroft, Central America, I., *8a, n.; Prescott, 
Ferdinand and Isabella, II., 491. 


Casa de Contractacion consisted of the president, the 
treasurer, the auditor, and the jpianager the four 
bearing the title of "judges ex ojficio" three assist- 
ant judges, and the attorney-general, and a steadily 
growing body of subordinate officials, among whom 
may be noted a high-sheriff, inspector-general, 
pilot-major (to examine and license pilots), the post- 
master-general ("correo mayor"), 1 etc. 

In 1552 a professorship of cosmography and nav- 
igation was established under the control of the casa, 
and all candidates for the office of pilot were obliged 
to take the courses of study provided in these sub- 
jects. 2 A regulation of great importance to science, 
established by Philip II., was the requirement that 
all pilots and ship-masters should keep an accurate 
daily record of their course, 6f the weather, and of 
the ocean currents, as well as a precise description 
of all shores coasted, etc., which were to be deposited 
with the pilot-major in Seville. 8 The efficiency of 
this institution became widely known, and it was 
imperfectly imitated by Henry VIII. of England 
in the incorporation of the association called the 
Trinity House, at Deptford, in isi2, 4 which is still 
in existence, although its most important functions 
were taken over in 1853 by the Board of Trade.* 

1 Cf. H. H. Bancroft, Central America, I., 282, for further de- 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias, lib. IX., tit. XXIIL, 
leyes 5 and 25. ' /&, ley 37. 

4 Anderson, History of Commerce, year 1512. 

1 Encyclopaedia Britannica (pth ed.), art., " Trinity House." 


The variety of the political questions presented 
by the organization of the Spanish possessions in the 
New World led gradually to the formation of a new 
royal council, which took its place beside the Council 
of Castile, the Council of State, and the other royal 
councils. At first these matters had been consid- 
ered by the sovereigns in consultation with Bishop 
Fonseca. In 1507 Governor Ovando and the offi- 
cials of the Casa de Contractacion were ordered to 
confer with Fonseca and Lope de Conchillos, the 
king's secretary in Indian affairs. 1 These two men 
continued in charge for several years, consulting in 
cases of some difficulty informally with other mem- 
bers of the king's council. 2 It would appear that as 
early as 1509 their decisions were recorded as those 
of the Council of the Indies. 3 

With the accession of King Charles I. (Emperor 
Charles V.) a nucleus of the more extensive council 
later established was formed in 1517 with seven 
members, among whom were Fonseca, Francis de los 
Cobos, one of Charles's ablest ministers, and Peter 
Martyr, the first historian of America. In this 
group Fonesca's influence was paramount. 4 The 
formal organization of this body as a permanent in- 

1 Herrera, Historic* General, dec. I., lib. VII., chap, i.; Las 
Casas, Historia, III., 269. 

8 Hen-era, Historia General, dec. L, lib. X., chap. vi. 

* Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud en el Nuevo Mundo, 138, cites 
a manuscript volume in the library of the Academy of History, 
Madrid, entitled, Extracto del Indice General de los Registros del 
Consejo de Indias desde 1509 a 1608. 

4 Herrera, Historia General t dec. II., lib. II., chap. xx. 


dependent council in distinction from a varying 
group of advisers on Indian affairs dates from Au- 
gust 4, 1524. At its head was placed Garcia de 
Loaysa, the general of the Dominican order and the 
king's confessor. In October, when the king was 
ill with the quartan fever, he authorized the council 
to despatch all matters relating to justice without 
waiting to consult him. 1 

In 1542 and later the composition of the council 
was specified in detail. The high chancellor of the 
Indies was to be president ; the number of ordinary 
councillors who were lawyers might be enlarged as 
business grew, but should be eight for the present; 
an attorney and two secretaries, and a deputy of the 
high chancellor came next in order. All these were 
to be of noble birth, pure lineage, and God-fearing. 
In addition there were to be three reporters and a 
clerk, four expert accountants, a treasurer, two 
treasury solicitors or attorneys, an historian, 2 and a 
cosmographer and mathematician, a judge to ap- 
praise damages, an advocate, a proctor of the poor, a 
chaplain, four ushers, and a sheriff. 8 

To this body was intrusted the supreme legislative 
and judicial control, under the king, of Spanish 
America. It was to meet twice daily except on 
church holidays, three hours in the morning and 
two in the afternoon ; and the different branches of 

1 Herrera, Historic General, dec. III., lib. VI., chap. xiv. 
1 The historian Herrera held this position. 
1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. II., tit. II., ley i. 


business had each its allotted week-day. Business 
might be divided among "halls" or committees, 
but legislation of general importance must be acted 
on in full council and required a two-thirds vote for 
passage. The council was to use all available means 
to accumulate information about the Indies so that 
action would be based on knowledge. 1 It was also 
felt to be desirable, although not enforced by law, 
that some of the members of the council should have 
seen official service in the Indies so as to be able to 
give advice based on experience. Besides making 
the laws for the New World and serving as the final 
court of appeal, the council served as an advisory 
or nominating board in regard to all civil and ec- 
clesiastical offices in the Indies. 2 The literary 
monument of nearly two centuries of its activity is 
the great Recopilacion de Leyes de los Reinos de 
las Indias, a body of law which, in spite of short- 
comings as to finance and variances with modern 
ideas, is, in its broad humanity and consideration of 
the general welfare of the king's American subjects, 
far superior to anything that can be shown for the 
English or French colonies. 8 
In the history of English colonial policy in the 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, leyes 5 and 6; cf . also Herrera's account 
of its duties and methods; Description de las Indias Occidentals, 
chaps, xxx., xxxi. ; H. H. Bancroft, Central America, I., 280. 

2 Solorzano, Politica Indiana (ed. 1703), lib. V., chap, xv., 463. 
1 On the history of this code, see H. H. Bancroft, Central Amcr- 

tea, I., 285-288; on other collections of the colonial laws, see 
H. H. Bancroft, Mexico, III., 550. 


eighteenth century the Board of Trade and Planta- 
tions, in its advisory and judicial functions, suggests 
some comparison with the Spanish Council of the 
Indies, but it was a much weaker and less effective 
body. In name the English India Council of our own 
day challenges a comparison with its Spanish proto- 
type, but its similarities are on the whole superficial: 
it is mainly advisory in character, has no power of 
initiation, and only a very limited power of veto. 
The making of laws, which was so important a part 
of the work of the Spanish council, under the Eng- 
lish system for India falls to the lot of the governor- 
general and his council, as specially expanded for 
the purpose. 1 

Turning now to the Spanish organization in 
America, we observe a general disposition to adjust 
the existing machinery of Spanish administration 
to the problem of governing the colonies, just as it 
was the policy of the crown to assimilate the laws 
of the Indies as far as possible to those of Spain. 2 
In 1507 the towns in Espanola sent two delegates 
to Spain to petition the king for the privileges pos- 
sessed by municipalities in Spain. 8 The request was 
granted, and in addition coats of arms were be- 
stowed upon fourteen towns. A court independent 
of the governor was established in 1510 to hear ap- 
peals from the decisions of the governor's justices. 

1 Ilbert, The Government of India, 113, 118. 

2 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. II., tit. II., ley 13. 

8 Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. VII., chap. ii. 


This may be taken as the beginning of the Audiencia, 
or supreme court, of Espanola, a body which also 
became the mouth-piece of colonial needs by pre- 
senting memorials to the Council of the Indies. 1 

It is particularly interesting to find conventions 
of the proctors or delegates of the towns, meeting to 
take common action for pressing their needs. For 
example, in 1518 the proctors of the towns met and 
petitioned for freer commerce with Spain. 2 By 
1540 such meetings were annual in Cuba. 3 In 1542 
this inchoate cortes petitioned the king that each 
householder might import four negroes free of duty. 4 
In 1530 Charles V. accorded the city of Mexico the 
first place in New Spain and the first vote in the 
congresses "that meet by our command. Without 
our command it is not our intention or will that the 
cities and towns of the Indies meet in convention." 5 
The whole drift of Spanish political life in the six- 
teenth century, however, was towards the strength- 
ening of the power of the crown and the loss by the 
cortes of its legislative function; and traces of an 
opposite tendency in America were sporadic and 
temporary. The government of Spanish America 
was pre-eminently monarchical, and a consideration 
of its political machinery may well begin with the 

*Cf. H. H. Bancroft, Central America, I., 269. 
8 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud en el Nuevo Mundo, 86. 
1 Ibid., 179; Alaman, Historia de Mejico, L, 39. 
4 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 184. 

"Se juntar," Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IV., tit. VIII., ley a; 
Alaman, Historia de Mejico, L, 39. 


representative and counterpart of the king, the 

In the year 1574 the Spanish- American world 
was officially described as consisting of two king- 
doms: New Spain, comprising the main-land and 
islands north of the isthmus, and also that part of 
South America which is now Venezuela; and Peru, 
comprising the isthmus and all the territory from 
New Spain to Patagonia except Brazil. The king- 
dom of New Spain was subdivided into four audi- 
encias, or supreme court districts, and seventeen or 
eighteen " governments/ 1 The court districts were 
Mexico, Espanola, including the other islands and 
Venezuela, New Galicia, and Guatemala. The vice- 
royalty of Peru contained five audiencias Lima, 
Los Charcas, Quito, New Grahada, and Panama 
and ten governments. 1 

The viceroy was the personal representative of 
the king, and was to govern and labor for the wel- 
fare of the king's subjects and vassals as he would 
do if present in person. 2 Over seventy laws in the 
Recopilacion are devoted to specifying his duties, 
and a conscientious ruler found it a position of 
arduous labor and trying responsibility. 8 The 
fourth viceroy, Don Martin de Enriquez, informed 
his successor that he was expected to be the father 

1 Lopez de Velasco, Geografia y Description, 40, 41. 
* Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. III., tit. III., ley i. 
8 On the daily routine of the viceroy of Peru, see Ulloa, Voy- 
age, II., 41,42. 


of the people, the patron of monasteries and hos- 
pitals, the protector of the poor, and particularly 
of the widows and orphans of the conquerors, and 
the old servants of the king, all of whom would suffer 
were it not for the relief afforded them by the vice- 
roy. 1 It was the duty of the outgoing viceroy to 
draw up a general report embodying information 
and counsel for his successors. These reports con- 
stitute to-day one of our most complete and trust- 
worthy sources of knowledge. 2 

The normal term of office was three years, length- 
ened in the eighteenth century to five, but it could 
be extended or shortened by the king. 3 The first 
two viceroys reigned fifteen and fourteen years re- 
spectively. From 1535 down to 1821' sixty-two 
viceroys held the office. In the seventeenth cen- 
tury the salary of the viceroy of New Spain was 
twenty thousand ducats and that of the viceroy of 
Peru thirty thousand ducats. 4 In the middle of 
the eighteenth century the salary of the viceroy of 
Mexico was fixed at sixty thousand pesos, twelve 
thousand of which he was expected to devote to his 
captain-general. 5 The increase was more nominal 

1 H. H. Bancroft, Mexico, II., 661. 

2 For those of viceroys of Peru that have been published, see 
Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., VIII., 342; for Mexico, cf. H. H. 
Bancroft, Mexico, III., 551. 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. III., tit. III., ley 71; Alaman, 
Historic de Mejico, I., 44. 

4 Recopilacion de Leyes> lib. III., tit. III., ley 72. The ducat 
equals approximately $2.25. 

6 Alaman, Historia de Mejico t I., 44. 


than actual, owing to the gradual fall in the value of 
money. As appears from the difference in the 
salary, the viceroyalty of Peru ranked as a higher 
dignity than that of New Spain, and successful vice- 
roys of New Spain were often promoted to Peru. 1 

As the Spanish rule extended in America, the 
great distances required additions to the number 
of independent governments; of these, two were 
viceroy alties, New Granada (created in 1717) and 
Buenos Ayres (1778); the other and lesser divis- 
ions, styled captaincies - general, were Guatemala 
(1527), Venezuela (1773), Cuba (1777), Chili (1778). 
The powers and duties of the captain-general were 
similar to those of the viceroy ; he was the king of 
a smaller kingdom. In Venezuela his term of office 
was usually seven years and his salary nine thou- 
sand pesos. 2 

At the expiration of their term of service all ad- 
ministrative officers had to undergo a " residencia," 
an inquest into their conduct in office. One or more 
commissioners appointed for the purpose opened a 
court, at which all persons with grievances or in- 
justice to complain of against the outgoing official 
could present their charges. The residencia for a 
viceroy was limited to six months. The commission- 
er then prepared his report of the hearing, and the 

1 Ulloa describes the arrival of a new viceroy, Voyage, II. t 
46-52. He thought the ceremonials excessive and demoralizing, 
Noticias Seer etas, 452. 

2 Depons, Voyage to the Eastern Part of Terra-Firma t II., 17. 


papers were forwarded to the Council of the Indies 
for the final decision. This method of enforcing re- 
sponsibility was of varying efficacy. Depons, who 
lived several years in Caracas, said, "I resign all 
criticism on its operation to those who know the se- 
ductive influence of Plutus over the feeble and pliant 
Themis/' l A viceroy of Peru compared the resi- 
dencia " to the whirlwinds which we are wont to see 
in the squares and streets, that serve only to raise 
the dust, chaff, and other refuse and set it on our 
heads/' 2 Sometimes favor at court exempted a 
viceroy from a residencia. 8 

The only other check on the arbitrary powers of 
the viceroy was that exercised by the appropriate 
audiencia, which combined the functions performed 
in Spain by the chanceries of the different kingdoms 
and by the Council of the Indies. The audiencia was, 
therefore, at the same time, the viceroy's or gover- 
nor's council and the highest colonial court of ap- 
peal. The number of these bodies gradually in- 
creased until Philip IV., in the seventeenth century, 
divided his dominions beyond the sea into twelve 
audiencias Santo Domingo, Mexico, Panama, Lima, 
Guatemala, Guadalajara, Bogotd, La Plata, Quito, 
Manila, Chili, Buenos Ayres. The executive in these 
lesser subdivisions was the governor and captain- 

1 Depons, Voyage to the Eastern Part of Terra-Firma, II., 25. 

'Helps, Spanish Conquest in America (new ed.), III., 102- 
109, traces the history of the institution. Presumably the 
residencia was more effective with subordinate officials. 

1 Alaman, Historia de Mejico, I., 43. 


general, who was ex officio president of the audience. 
The number of members of the audience depended 
upon its position and importance. The royal audi- 
ence of Mexico, for example, consisted of eight au- 
ditors (oidores), or civil judges, four alcaldes de 
crimen (criminal judges), and two prosecuting at- 
torneys, one for civil, the other for criminal cases, a 
sheriff, etc. 1 In the subordinate audiences the num- 
ber of auditors was less and they served as criminal 
judges as well. 3 

As a council the audience deliberated with its 
president, or, in Mexico and Peru, with the viceroy, 
on appointed days, in regard to the more weighty 
or perplexing questions of government. Such a 
session was called an "acuerdo." 3 The executive, 
however, had no vote in matters of justice, but he 
could determine whether a question was really one 
of justice or political in character. 4 Persons who 
felt themselves wronged by any act or decision of 
the viceroy could appeal to the audience. 5 The 
subordinate audiences could communicate indepen- 
dently of their president to the viceroy, and the prin- 
cipal or royal audiences equally independently to 
the king. If a vacancy occurred in the viceroyalty 
or government the audience assumed the adminis- 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. II., tit XV., ley 3. 
* Ibid., ley 4; Solorzano, Politico, Indiana (ed. 1703), 394. 
8 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. III., tit. III., ley 45; Depons, 
Voyage, II., 31. 

4 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. II., tit. XV., ley 38. 
*Ibid. t ley 35- 


tration. In questions involving sums under six 
thousand pesos the decision of the audience 
was final ; in matters of greater import an ap- 
peal could be carried to the Council of the In- 

Every three years one of the auditors was to be 
delegated by the viceroy or president to make a tour 
of inspection throughout the entire district, to in- 
form himself as to the economic condition of the 
people, as to the number of churches and monas- 
teries necessary to provide for their good, as to 
whether the Indians were lapsing into idolatry, as 
to the conduct of the corregidors, whether the slaves 
in the mines were instructed, whether the Indians 
were enslaved or employed as freight - carriers, 
whether the drugs in the apothecary shops were 
pure, etc. 1 Extraordinary precautions were taken 
to detach the auditors from social connections or 
business relations which would impair their im- 
partiality. 3 

The administrative subdivisions of the audiences 
were the "gobiernos," or governments, the "cor- 
regimientos," and the "alcaldias mayores." 8 The 
executives for these local governments were ap- 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. II., tit. XXXI., ley i. 

*Cf. Depons, Voyage, II., 29, 30. 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. V., tit. II., ley i. As the en- 
comienda system was abolished the Indians were placed under 
a corregidor, who was a sort of Indian superintendent, ibid., 
ley 3; H. H. Bancroft, Mexico, II., 329. The alcalde mayor 
was a district or county magistrate, sometimes a local governor, 
ibid., 520. 


pointed by the crown, but ad interim appointments 
could be made by the viceroy. 1 

It was only in the colonial towns, both Spanish 
and Indian, that there existed some degree of self- 
government. The conquerors often established mu- 
nicipal governments of their own initiative in a 
way that reminds one that self-government might 
have grown up spontaneously in Spanish America 
if the arm of the home government had not been so 
long. Thus in Darien the colonists established a 
municipality and elected Balboa alcalde in isio. 2 
Again, when the followers of Cortes founded Vera 
Cruz they elected the alcaldes and regidores making 
up the town council, a chief of police (alguacil may- 
or), treasurer, etc. 8 

In 1523 it was enacted that ih founding new towns 
the citizens might elect the regidores unless the right 
to nominate them had been accorded to the com- 
mander of the colony; and this privilege was con- 
firmed by Philip II. 4 But since in Spain the town 
councils had been changed from a body elected by 
the citizens to be a close corporation, permanent 
membership in which was inherited or purchased, 5 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. V., tit. II., ley 4. In 1786 the 
local government was reorganized and the viceroyalties and 
captaincies-general were subdivided into intendencias. The 
corregidors and alcaldes mayores were then displaced by the 
subdelegados of the intendants, H. H. Bancroft, Mexico, III., 520. 

2 Irving, Columbus, III., 155; H. H. Bancroft, Central America, 
I., 330. * Bernal Diaz, Historia Verdadera, chap. xlii. 

4 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IV., tit. X., ley 3. 
1 Armstrong, in Hume, Spain, 19. 


the cabildos, or municipal councils, of sSpanish Amer- 
ica took the same course. Thbse in ordinary places 
had normally six regidores, or aldermen, and two 
alcaldes, or justices, elected by regidores each year. 
In the larger cities the number of regidores was 
greater, and they were divided into different classes. 
For example, in Santiago, Chili, in the first half of 
the eighteenth century, the cabildo consisted of six 
regidores, part of whom inherited and part had pur- 
chased the dignity, two alcaldes, one alferez real 
(royal ensign), one alguacil mayor (sheriff), and a 
depositary or trustee of trust funds. 1 In Caracas, 
in Depons' time, the cabildo consisted of the gov- 
ernor ex officio, two alcaldes, twelve regidores whose 
positions could be bought or sold, four other regi- 
dores nominated by the king from among the Span- 
iards resident in the town, 2 and four other officers, 
the alferez real, alcalde mayor, alguacil mayor, and 
fiel executor (sealer of weights). These last offices 
were purchasable. 3 At the close of the colonial 
period the cabildo of the city of Mexico consisted 
of fifteen permanent regidores, whose dignity was 
entailed, who elected each year two alcaldes and 
every two years six honorary regidores, including a 
syndic, from prominent business-men or property 
owners. 4 It was in the cabildos only of all the 

1 Frzier, Voyage, I., 179. 

* These honorary regidores were of recent origin. 

Depons, Voyage, II., 45. 

4 Alaman, Historia de Mejico, I., 57. 


machinery of government that the Spanish Creoles 
had a prominent or controlling share. 

The functions of the cabildo embraced the ordi- 
nary duties of the town council local legislation, 
sanitary and humane regulations, etc. 1 In Castile 
the cortes had come to consist mainly of the pro- 
curadores (proctors) , or delegates of the cities. The 
initial steps in the development of what might have 
become colonial cortes have already been noticed, as 
well as the opposition of Charles V. to any such ten- 
dency. The institution of proctors of the towns, 
however, continued to exist with narrowly defined 
functions. In the sixteenth century the towns in 
the New World were authorized to elect proctors to 
represent their interests before the Council of the 
Indies. In the seventeenth they were to em- 
power resident agents in Spain to look after such 
matters. These elections or commissions proceeded 
from the regidores of the towns. 2 In general, these 
proctors of the towns may be compared with the 
agents maintained in London by the English colo- 
nies and even by the town of Boston. 

One feature of the administrative system which 
now seems strange and unsuitable was the purchase 
and sale of offices. One of the regular branches of 
the royal revenue was the income derived from the 
increase in public offices as the king's domains in the 
New World expanded, which from 1557 on was a 

l Cf. Saco, Historic* de la Esclawtud, 201, 221, 251. 
1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IV., tit. XI. 


regular part of the governmental system. The prin- 
cipal offices that were offered for sale and for which 
bids were received were those of sheriffs, city and 
court clerks and notaries, proctors, depositaries, 
ensigns, regidores, treasurers, sealers of weights and 
measures, assayers. 1 In 1620 it was enacted that 
the office of regidor should be no longer filled by 
election or lot, but that bids should be called for by 
the officials of the royal treasury during a period of 
thirty days, and that the persons to whom the award 
was made should possess the requisite qualifications 
for the office, giving the preference to the conquer- 
ors, the first settlers, and their descendants.* 

This system offered opportunity for a successful 
business-man to become a member of the official 
class, thereby improving his social station and se- 
curing a permanent position for his family. The 
office conferred distinction, and the income from it 
would be a secure form of investment. The system 
is, of course, repugnant to present-day ideas, but it 
was not so in the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies. In fact, it secured the positive approval of 
the most eminent writer on comparative politics 
who knew it at first hand. 3 It is the opinion of 
Bancroft that the policy of salable offices " does not 
appear to have been attended with so many evils as 
might have been expected. 4 Indeed, the system 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VIII., tit. XX., ley i. 
*Ibid. t ley 7. 

1 Montesquieu, L' Esprit des Lois, liv. V., chap. xix. 
4 H. H. Bancroft, Mexico, III., 530. 


had many advantages over the practice of paying a 
heavy assessment to a party machine for a nomina- 
tion and the chance of being elected. To most 
Americans to-day the letting out of public work 
by private contracts to the lowest bidder seems 
natural and a sound business policy. Perhaps 
in a century or so it may seem as strange to let 
out the paving of a street to a contractor as to 
call for bids for a county clerkship. 

That the Spanish colonies were oppressed and 
exploited by the mother-country is a widely spread 
opinion. The well-known fact that the king derived 
a large net revenue from his American dominions is 
in itself no evidence of oppression or exploitation. 
Not to do so would have been a proof of extraordi- 
narily bad finance, for the source of the net revenue 
was the king's royalty of one-fifth on the yield of the 
gold and silver mines. That the state should re- 
ceive a part of the pure rent of such natural monopo- 
lies rather than it should be entirely appropriated 
by the lucky prospector commends itself to-day to 
an increasing number of people. It was calculated 
in the latter half of the eighteenth century that the 
fifth of the annual product of the mines was about 
$7,425,000, and that the king's net revenue from 
America was about $6, 7 50,000. l 

The main sources of government revenue in the 
New World besides the mining royalties were: the 
tribute, or poll-tax, paid by the male Indians of work- 

1 See Robertson, History of America, notes 196 and 197. 


ing age, roughly equal in the later period to about 
$2.25 per capita annually; the alcabala, or excise, 
levied on goods sold, varying from two to six per 
cent. ; the almojarifazgo, or export and import duties, 
averaging perhaps fifteen per cent. ; the averia, or con- 
voy tax, equalling about two per cent, on the va^ue 
of the cargoes; the receipts from the sale of offices; 
the receipts from the sale of the bulls of the crusade 
i.e., indulgences; monopolies of gunpowder, salt, 
tobacco, and quicksilver, and a portion of the church 
income. The taxes were, as a whole, much the same 
as those in Spain. 1 In 1746 the total revenue of 
New Spain was estimated at 3,552,680 pesos. 2 A 
little less than half a century later, 1 796, it had risen 
to $19,400,000,* of which probably $3,500,000 4 
represents the king's mining royalties, leaving about 
$16,000,000 from taxation from a population of 
about five million certainly not an oppressive 
amount, especially when we consider the great 
wealth among the Spaniards, who constituted about 
one-fifth of the population. 

The burden bore unequally heavy on the Indians, 
who as a class were poor and could not escape the 
tribute or the indulgences. Financial corruption 

*Cf. Bancroft, Mexico, III., 655-668; Robertson, History of 
America, note 196. 

1 By Villa Segnor, in his Teatro Americano; Robertson, Hw- 
tory of America, note 196. 

1 Bancroft, Mexico, III., 676. 

4 Estimated at between a fifth and a sixth on the basis of 
Bancroft, Mexico, III., 399. 


no doubt absorbed a large amount which was col- 
lected but which did not appear in the returns ; yet, 
all in all, it does not seem that the Spanish govern- 
ment can be charged with exploiting the colonial 
population by oppressive taxes. The real burden 
which lay upon them was not that of intentional 
oppression, but that of unintelligent commercial leg- 
islation, which sacrificed the colonial opportunities 
to the protection of the manufactures and trade of 
Spain. A vastly larger sum could easily have been 
borne if the unproductive restrictions of the trade 
legislation had been relaxed earlier and more com- 

Another indication that the colonies suffered from 
lack of opportunities rather than from extortion is 
afforded by the fact that fertile regions of great 
natural advantages never produced revenue enough 
to pay the expenses of government. The Philip- 
pines, Cuba, and the other islands, Venezuela before 
the establishment of the Guipuzcoa commercial 
company, Florida, and Louisiana after 1765, were all 
subsidized from the treasury of New Spain to an 
amount of between three and four million dollars a 
year. 1 Peru, in her turn, contributed one hundred 
thousand pesos to Chili and seventy thousand to 
Valdivia.* If it had not been for the mines it is 
probable that Spain could neither have formed nor 
maintained her American empire tinder any such 

1 Bancroft, Mexico, III., 676, n. 

1 Roscher, The Spanish Colonial System, 40. 


commercial policy as she pursued. Her trans- 
atlantic establishments would have been feeble and 
of slow growth, and very likely South and Central 
America would have waited as long as North Amer- 
ica for effective occupation, which then might have 
been accomplished by Spain's later and more pow- 
erful rivals. 

Without a prolonged and detailed discussion it 
would be difficult to reach a general conclusion 
on the government and administration of Spanish 
America. Severe judgments have been passed upon 
it. Justice was slow and uncertain ; the evidence of 
financial corruption, especially of bribery of judges 
and custom-house officials, is abundant ; but, after 
all, the general impression derived from the narra- 
tives of English residents in New Spain and other 
early travellers is that they observed no particular 
contrast between governmental conditions in Eu- 
rope and America. It is the opinion of the writer 
that, all things considered, Spanish America was 
quite as well governed as was Spain, and was, on the 
whole, more prosperous; that the condition of Peru 
and the rest of South America was below that of New 
Spain in many respects ; and that at no time in the 
history of Mexico, up to within the last quarter of a 
century, has the government been so good as her 
people enjoyed under the abler viceroys such as 
Mendoza or Velasco in the beginning, or the younger 
ReviUagigedo at the end of Spanish rule. 



THE beginnings of Spanish emigration to the 
New World have already been outlined, and the 
efforts of the government and of the colonists to 
restrict the privilege to Spaniards of the old Chris- 
tian families have been noted. 1 Yet the enforce- 
ment of these regulations was delayed, and in 1511 
the Casa de Contractacion was instructed to allow 
any Spaniards to go to the Indies without formali- 
ties beyond registration of their names and resi- 
dence. 2 In 1518, however, the earlier prohibitions 
were formally re-enacted and extended to include 
the grandsons of heretics. 8 

An interesting illustration of the thoroughness 
with which this rigorous sifting of emigration was 
later carried out, and of the completeness with which 
New Spain was sheltered from the invasion of heresy, 

1 Docs. Ined. de Ultramar, V., 134. Cf. above, pp. 209, 220. 

' Veitia Linage, Norte de la Contractacion, 219. 

8 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XXVI., ley 16. The Jer- 
onimite fathers wrote the king in January, 1517, from Espafiola, 
that it was reported that there were many heretics in the 
island who had come to escape the Inquisition, Docs. Ined. de 
Indias., I., 274. 



is afforded by the case of the English merchant Tom- 
son, whose trial for heresy in 1556 is perhaps the 
earliest recorded instance in Mexico of such a prose- 
cution. 1 The strangeness of the event, aroused great 
curiosity, and " there were that came one hundredth 
mile off, to see the said Auto (as they call it), for 
that there were never none before, that had done 
the like in the said country, nor could not tell what 
Lutheranes were, nor what it meant ; for that they 
never heard of any such thing before." 2 This was 
almost forty years after the posting of Luther's 
theses. Perhaps an even more striking demonstra- 
tion is that in an activity extending over two hun- 
dred and seventy-seven years the Inquisition put 
to death in Mexico only forty-one unreconciled 
heretics, a number surpassed in some single days in 
Spain in Philip II. 's time. 8 

These restrictions unquestionably conformed to 
prevalent public opinion in Spain and the colonies, 
yet here and there a protest was uttered. In 1518 
the lawyer Zuazo, who was then in America as the 
agent of the crown, urged that the Indies be thrown 
open freely to emigration from all parts of the 
world, excluding only Moors, Jews, heretics, and their 
descendants. 4 The restriction of the right of emi- 

1 Cf. Icazbalceta, "Autos de Fe celebrados en Mexico," Obras, 
I., 279. 'Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 146. 

1 Icazbalceta, Obras, L, 316. For autos in Spain in 1559, cf. 
Motley, Dutch Republic, I., 221, 222. 

4 Docs. Ined. de Indias, I., 328. The Jeronimite fathers urged 
the same, ibid., I., 287. 


gration to the people of Spain was contrary to the 
instincts and preferences of Charles V., and in 1526 
he issued an ordinance giving full liberty to all his 
subjects of all his kingdoms and lordships, including 
the empire and Genoa and all the rest, to go to, to 
traffic in, and to live in the Indies, " since it was rea- 
sonable after such vast territories had been discov- 
ered that they should be peopled with Christians." * 
How extensively this privilege was used it would be 
difficult to say. Charles granted Venezuela to the 
Augsburg banking-house of the Welsers 2 and the 
coast of Chili to the Fuggers, 3 but no German settle- 
ments resulted in either case. 

That foreigners did secure licenses to go to and 
to trade in the Indies is indicated by the laws of 
1569 requiring the Casa de Confiractacion to keep an 
exact record of such instances, and the law of 1557 
requiring such foreigners to stay in the ports and not 
to go into the interior. 4 The Italian Benzoni seems 
to have had no difficulty in going to the Indies in 
1541. 5 In 1555 the English merchant Field, who 
had lived in Seville eighteen or twenty years, pur- 
chased a license to go to the Indies with his family, 
and took with him Robert Tomson, who had been in 
Seville only a year.* 

1 MS. ordinance quoted by Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 
85; Herrera, Historia General, dec. III., lib. X., chap. xi. 

* See Habler, Die Uberseeischen Unternehmungen der Welser 
(1903). 8 Armstrong, Charles V. t II., 47. 

4 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XXVII., leyes a and 4. 

1 Benzoni, History of the New World, i. 

Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 138, 139. 


With the accession of Philip II., however, the lines 
were more strictly drawn ; and the regulations in re- 
gard to passengers to the Indies and to foreigners re- 
veal an elaborately developed policy to preserve, so 
far as European intermixture was concerned, the 
purity of the Spanish stock in the New World, and 
to prevent, so far as possible, the diffusion of knowl- 
edge in foreign countries of the wealth and resources 
of the king's American possessions. In regard to 
Spaniards the policy adopted was one of restriction 
and rigid supervision. No one, either native or 
foreigner, was allowed to go to the Indies without a 
permit from the crown (or in some cases from the 
Casa de Contractacion) under penalty of forfeiting 
his property. Officers of the fleets or vessels were 
held strictly responsible for infractions of this rule. 
In the code the details of these restrictions are am- 
plified in seventy-three laws. The reason for such 
strict regulations covering emigration was to pro- 
tect the Indies from being overrun with idle and 
turbulent adventurers anxious only "to get rich 
quickly, and not content with food and clothing, 
which every moderately industrious man was as- 
sured of." ' 

In 1592 all unnaturalized foreigners were prohib- 
ited from going to the Indies; 2 yet a complete exe- 

1 Velasco, Description de las Indias, 36. Cf . the Venetian am- 
bassador Soriano's characterization of most of the emigrants as 
"broken and desperate men or fugitives from justice." Alb6ri, 
Relazioni Venete, ist series, III., 343. 

*Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XXVII., ley i. 


cution of the law seems not to have been attained, 
for the law of 1602 recognizes increasing inconven- 
iences from foreigners going to the New World, 
and directs their deportation because "the ports 
are not safe in the things of our holy Catholic 
faith, and great care should be taken that no error 
creep in among the Indians/' 1 In 1621, however, 
exception is made of such as are engaged in the use- 
ful mechanical arts, but the law is to be enforced 
against the traders in the towns. 2 Foreigners were 
defined to be those not born in Spain or Majorca or 
Minorca. This policy of exclusion was maintained 
to the downfall of Spain's rule on the main -land. 
In five years' travel in Spanish America Humboldt 
happened upon only one German resident. 8 The 
inhabitants of the remote provinces, he tells us, had 
difficulty in conceiving that there could be Euro- 
peans who did not speak Spanish. 4 

These strict regulations stand out in sharp con- 
trast to the later English indifference as to what sort 
of people went to the colonies. The purely secular 
policy of Cromwell, who shipped Irish papists and 
rebels wholesale to the West Indies, 5 would have 
been impossible for the scrupulous Philip II. ; but by 
the middle of the seventeenth century commercial 
and secular motives and ideals in state policy had 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX M tit. XXVII. , ley 9. 

* Ibid., ley 10. Humboldt, Travels, VII., 441. 
4 Humboldt, New Spain, I., 210. 

Cf. Col. of State Pap., Col., I., 421, 427, 4*8. 


nearly displaced the religious. Then again the ex- 
istence in New Spain and in Peru of a large popula- 
tion of Christianized natives whom the crown wished 
to protect so far as possible from exploitation, made 
the question of unrestricted immigration essentially 
different in the Spanish colonies from what it was in 
the settlements of the English. 

That the difference between the policies of the 
two home governments was not a difference between 
the two nations so much as between two periods and 
their respective ruling ideas is shown by the earlier 
English projects to enforce religious uniformity in 
the colonies. 1 Our own exclusion of laborers under 
contract, of speculative anarchists, and of the Chi- 
nese should not be overlooked in passing judgment 
on the Spanish restrictive policy. 

Concurrently with this sifting of emigration the 
government continued to encourage the settlement 
of farmers and artisans in the islands. In 1 5 19 colo- 
nists were offered exemption from taxation for twen- 
ty years. But soon Mexico, and later Peru, with 
their wealth of gold and silver and more salubrious 
climate, proved so attractive that the island colonies 
were threatened with depopulation. 2 

To counteract this peril, the king in 1525 offered 
free transportation of families to Espanola, 8 and in 

1 Cf. Eggteston, Beginners of a Nation, 231, 235; Col of State 
., Col., I., 177, 310; Hart, American History told by Con- 
temporaries, I., 183. 'See above, p. 199. 
1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 141. 


1526 the extreme measure was adopted of prohibit- 
ing under penalty of death and confiscation migra- 
tion from the islands to the continent. The found- 
ers of main-land settlements, however, were allowed 
to draw from the islands if they would contract 
to replace their recruits by an equal number of 
Spaniards. So severe a law was naturally a dead 
letter. 1 

In 1529 a new plan was tried that of establishing 
feudal lordships. .If any one would take over to 
Espanola fifty married couples, twenty -five free 
whites and twenty-five negro slaves, build a church 
and fort and support the clergyman, pay the freight 
and supply provisions for the emigrants, build their 
houses, give each couple two cows, two bulls, fifty 
sheep, one mare, ten pigs, and six chickens, and make 
the settlement within a year, completing twenty- 
five stone houses within five years and fifty within 
ten he was to receive an area of about sixty square 
miles, with its mines (subject to the king's royalty 
of one-fifth), its fisheries, one-fifth of the royal in- 
come from the territory, the right of patronage for 
the church, etc.; and finally his family should be 
raised to the nobility and granted a coat of arms. 2 
It is possible that the sixty laborers with their wives 
and a clergyman, brought to Santo Domingo in 1533 
by one Bolanos under contract with the crown, came 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 142; Herrera, Historia Gen- 
eral, dec. III., lib. X., chap. ii. 

a Saco, History de la Esdavitud t 147-149. 


in response to this effort, 1 but in general the allure- 
ments of Mexico could not be withstood or counter- 
acted. In one period of five months (1535) there 
arrived in Panama on their way to Peru six hun- 
dred white men and four hundred negro slaves. 2 In 
1551 the crown agreed to advance to Cuban planters 
the capital required for building sugar-mills. The 
islands, however, never really prospered until the 
relaxation of the restrictions on their trade in the 
eighteenth century. 

To estimate the amount of emigration from Spain 
to America is very difficult, but it probably did not 
average much over one thousand or one thousand 
five hundred a year during the sixteenth century. 
Robert Tomson tells us that in the fleet of 1556 there 
were eight ships, and that on one of them, the Canon, 
of five hundred tons burden, there were one hundred 
and thirty -nine persons men, women, and chil- 
dren. 3 He estimated the Spanish population of 
Mexico city at about one thousand five hundred 
households. Velasco's estimate, twenty years later, 
was three thousand households. Counting a house- 
hold at five persons this would give about seven 
thousand five hundred as the growth in twenty 
years of the Spanish population in the city. Velasco, 
in 1574, estimated the total Spanish population of 
the New World at thirty thousand five hundred 

1 Herrera, Historic, General, dec. V., lib. V,, chap. v. 
1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 164. 
'Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 142. 


households, or one hundred and fifty-two thousand 
five hundred people. If this population, like that 
of Mexico city, had doubled in twenty years we 
should have an average annual increase of about 
three thousand eight hundred from excess of births 
over deaths, and from immigration. It is clear, then, 
after making reasonable allowance for high mor- 
tality, that the annual immigration could not have 
furnished more than three thousand of this number, 
and that in all probability it was much less. The 
estimate, therefore, of one thousand to one thou- 
sand five hundred a year seems a reasonable one. 
Nevertheless, the movement impressed contem- 
porary observers as considerable. The Venetian 
ambassador Priuli, in 1576, refers to the emigration 
to the Indies as ' * the great numbers of people who 
have gone and go continually to those parts/' * 
In 1617 the Casa de Contractacion wrote the king 
of the serious embarrassment occasioned by the 
multitude of passengers desiring to go to the Indies 
who came before it with incomplete or unsatisfac- 
tory credentials. 2 At a later date, in the early eigh- 
teenth century, Campillo, a minister of King Philip 
V., estimated the annual emigration to America at 
fourteen thousand, 3 but this figure is supported by 
no actual records. Adam Seybert placed the annual 
emigration to the United States from 1790 to 1810 

1 AlbeYi, Relazioni Venete, ist series, V., 233. 
J Veitia Linage, Norte de la Contractacion, 225. 
1 Colmeiro, Hist, de la Econ. Polit., II., 48. 


at not more than six thousand a year. 1 It is difficult, 
moreover, to see where and how any such number 
as Campillo suggests could have got transportation, 
for the fleet system was on the steady decline after 
the treaty of Utrecht (1713). 

In the previous centuries, notwithstanding the 
first excitement of the conquests of Mexico and 
Peru, there were no agencies of colonial companies 
nor any system of indentured servants such as sup- 
plied the English colonies. A record of the expense 
of crossing the Atlantic in the sixteenth century was 
made by the Englishman Miles Philips, who in 
1581 paid sixty pesos for a passage from Honduras 
to Spain, and provided his own chickens and bread. 2 
The peso in Mexico at this time is usually the gold 
peso, which was equivalent to about three dollars. 
The legal fare for such as secured passage on the 
war galleons was twenty silver ducats. 3 

1 Seybert, Statist. Annals, 29. 

1 Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 223. 

1 Veitia Linage, Norte de la Contractacion, 228. 




THE preservation and civilization of a large pro- 
portion of the native stock on the continent is 
a feature of the Spanish colonial system remarkable 
in itself and inadequately appreciated by the aver- 
age American, whose familiarity with the Spanish 
Indian policy rarely goes beyond the days of the 
conquest and of the extinction of the natives of the 
islands. To the prolonged efforts of the crown in 
behalf of its Indian vassals many a popular history 
gives less space than to the terrible stories of cruel- 
ties which Las Casas heaped up. 

In Spanish America the natives from the start 
were regarded as the subjects of the crown of Spain, 
whereas in English America they were generally 
treated as independent nations, friends, or enemies, 
as the case might be ; and the relations of the Eng- 
lish crown and colonial governments to them were 
diplomatic rather than those of ruler and governed. 
The consequence was that the English did not exert 
over the Indians a strong protective power, but that 



they were left in the main to take their chances in a 
sort of struggle for existence. A contributing fac- 
tor in shaping the different policy pursued by Spain 
in its final form was the conquest by Cort6s and 
Pizarro of states of a developed civilization, them- 
selves in turn resting on the conquest and combina- 
tion of smaller political aggregates. The peoples 
under the sway of Montezuma and Atahualpa accept- 
ed a change of rulers with no great resistance, and 
became the subjects of the king of Spain, whose cap- 
tains displaced their earlier conquerors. Only in 
the case of the wilder tribes, the " unreduced " 
Indians, do we have a situation more like that in 
English America. 1 

The inhabitants of the newly discovered tropical 
Africa knew Europeans only as slave-buyers and 
kidnappers; that a similar fate did not befall the 
natives of America may be attributed to the long- 
continued efforts of the Spanish kings and mission- 
aries, seconded by public opinion in Spain. 2 These 
new subjects must be converted, must be reduced to 
civilized life and to regular industry. It was a com- 
pulsory process, and it bore down at times in the 
remoter fields of execution with terrible severity, 
especially on such as were not inured to work. That 
the Indians, excepting prisoners of war and the wild 
Caribs resisting conquest, should not, either in theory 

1 Cf. Farrand, Basis of American History, chap. xii. 

2 See Armstrong, Charles V., II., 100, for petitions of the com- 
munes and the cortes for the freedom of the Indians. 

1 542] RACE ELEMENTS 255 

or in fact, be enslaved, was from the start the policy 
of the crown. The encomienda system, the genesis 
of which has been described in an earlier chapter, 
tended to degenerate into a serfdom approaching 
slavery and capable of great abuses; but the crown 
tried to prevent these evils so far as possible. In 
the code for the Indies prepared in 1542, commonly 
called the "New Laws," the future enslavement of 
the Indians was absolutely prohibited, and all slaves 
whose masters could not prove a just title were to 
be liberated; encomiendas belonging to officials, 
churchmen, and charitable institutions were to be 
given up; encomenderos who had abused their 
Indians were to forfeit their holdings; no new en- 
comiendas were to be granted, and existing ones 
were to lapse on the death of the holder. 1 

In securing this legislation Las Casas, "the 
apostle of the Indians," had been pre-eminently in- 
fluential, but the practical difficulties of its execu- 
tion proved insuperable. 2 The problem was not an 
easy one. A realm had been wrested from its 
earlier conquerors by the heroism and sacrifices of 
private adventurers: how were they to be reward- 
ed and their families supported ? That they should 
have great estates with a numerous body of serfs and 
live like the nobles in Europe seemed a practical 

1 Icazbalceta, Obras, V., 287; Bancroft, Mexico, II., 516. The 
text of the "New Laws" is given in Icazbalceta, Documentos 
para la Historia de Mexico, II., 204-227. 

2 Charles V. repealed the prohibition of encomiendas in 1545, 
Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VI., tit. VIII. , ley 4. 


solution of the difficulty. That "the American 
conqueror with his encomienda of Indians differed 
little from the Andalusian or Valencian noble with 
his Moorish vassal peasantry" * was no slight con- 
firmation of this view. On the other hand, Cort6s 
and the Spanish crown keenly felt the unwisdom 
and the wrong of any such wasting of the popula- 
tion as had taken place in the islands. Hence, 
after prolonged discussion and several experiments, 
it was decided that the encomienda system was to 
go on through four generations, after which the en- 
comiendas would lapse to the crown. Subsequent 
further extensions took place, and the lapse of the 
system was not accomplished until the eighteenth 
century. 3 The Indian legislation of the Spanish 
kings is an impressive monument of benevolent in- 
tentions which need not fear comparison with the 
contemporary legislation of any European country 
affecting the status of the working-classes. 

The details of the history of the Spanish Indian 
policy are too voluminous for presentation in this 
survey of the population of Spanish America; yet 
they form an important and instructive chapter 
in the history of the contact of the "higher" and 
"lower" races, of which unfortunately only the 
tragic prologue has been made generally familiar 
through the wide diffusion of Las Casas' tracts on 

1 Armstrong, Charles V. t II., 99. 

' Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VI., tit. XI., leyes 14, 15*. Hum - 
boldt, New Spain, I., 183. On the whole question, see Icaz- 
balceta, Obras, V., chap. xv. 

1 55 2] RACE ELEMENTS 25 f 

the Indian question. His Breuissima Relation de la 
Destruycion de las Indias, a voluminous plea pre- 
pared to present to Charles V. in 1540, was first 
published twelve years later. Translations into all 
the principal languages of Europe followed, and its 
pictures of terrible inhumanity, its impassioned de- 
nunciations of the conquerors, and its indictment 
of the colonial officials became the stock material 
of generations of historical writers. 

It is forgotten that his book w^s the product of a 
fierce agitation, or that it was written before the 
Spaniards had been fifty years in the New World, 
where their empire lasted three hundred years. 
Two centuries of philanthropic legislation has been 
thrown into the background by the flaming words 
which first gave it impulse. Las tasas was the Lloyd 
Garrison of Indian rights; but it is as one-sided to 
depict the Spanish Indian policy primarily from his 
pages as it would be to write a history of the Ameri- 
can negro question exclusively from the files of the 
Liberator; or, after a century of American rule in 
the Philippines, to judge it solely from the anti- 
imperialistic tracts of the last few years. That 
the benevolent legislation of the distant mother- 
country was not, and probably could not be, wholly 
enforced will not seem strange to those familiar 
with our experience with federal legislation on the 
negro question; but that a lofty ideal was raised 
and maintained is as true of the Indian laws of 
Spain as of the Fifteenth Amendment. 


All that can be attempted here is an outline 
sketch of the typical features of Indian society as 
reorganized by the conquest. The distinctive 
features of the Spanish Indian policy were the re- 
duction of the Indians to village life, their con- 
version to the Christian religion, the suppression of 
their vices and heathen practices, and a training to 
industry and sobriety so that they should support 
themselves and contribute to meet the expenses of 
the colonial establishment. A portion of their 
labor was to belong either to their encomenderos or 
to the crown. On the other hand, they were to 
be protected from the struggle for existence in 
competition with the heterogeneous elements of a 
colonial population. 

In pursuance of these aims the Indians were to 
live in villages under their own magistrates. Each 
village, according to its size, had one or two alcaldes 
and from one to four regidores, who were annually 
elected by the residents in the presence of the 
cura, or pastor. 1 These offices were not purchasable, 
as was the case in the Spanish towns. 2 Each vil- 
lage must contain a church with a mission priest, 
the expense to be borne by the encomendero out of 
his tributes. 3 No Indian could live outside his 
village, nor could any Spaniard, negro, mestizo, or 
mulatto live in an Indian village; Spaniards could 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VI., tit. III., ley 15. 

1 Ibid., ley 29; Depons, Voyage, L, 229. 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VI., tit. III., leyes 4, 5. 

1542] RACE ELEMENTS 259 

not tarry over one night, except merchants, who 
might stay two nights. 1 

In these villages the Indian social life, their 
marriages, and the like were to be regulated in 
accordance with Christian principles; 2 schools for 
teaching Spanish were to be opened ; 3 no wine could 
be sold there, and precautions were to be exercised 
that the native pulque should not be adulterated or 
fortified with spirits. 4 Indians could not purchase 
or bear arms nor ride on horseback. 5 In their 
religious relations they were exempt from the 
jurisdiction of the Inquisition. 6 The caciques who 
had been the chiefs of the Indians before their 
conversion or reduction might retain that office, 
and it was recognized as hereditary. They exercised 
minor jurisdiction, but could not try capital offences. 
In case they were reported to be oppressive the 
Spanish officials were to look into their conduct. 7 

The question of Indian tribute and labor was 
carefully regulated. All male Indians between 
eighteen and fifty were liable for an annual pay- 
ment, which was payable in kind either to the 
crown or to the encomendero, as the case might be ; 
but sometimes it could be commuted into money. 
The tribute was assessed by officials for the purpose, 
and protectors of the Indians were appointed to 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VI., tit. III., leyes 19, 21, 23, 24. 
'Ibid., lib. VI., tit. I., passim. * Ibid., ley 18. 

4 Ibid., leyes 36, 37. 6 Ibid., leyes 31, 33. 

1 Ibid. t ley 35. 1 Ibid., lib. VI., tit. VII., passim. 


look after their interests. The amount of the 
tribute in money value was iii the later period two 
or three pesos. 1 

Slavery was absolutely prohibited ; a the caciques 
could not hold Indian slaves. In granting en- 
comiendas the descendants of the conquerors, dis- 
coverers, and first settlers were to be preferred. 
Encomenderos could not be absentee landlords. 
They must provide for the religious instruction of 
the Indians and protect their rights. If negligent 
they were liable to forfeit their tributes. In the case 
of the larger encomiendas the tributes in excess of 
two thousand pesos were to be available for pensions 
of deserving persons. Encomenderos must not live 
in their Indians' villages, nor build houses there, 
nor allow their slaves to go thither, nor maintain 
stock-farms in the neighborhood of a village. They 
must marry within three years after receiving a 
holding, and could not leave their province without 
a license, or go to Spain except for some extraor- 
dinary emergency. 8 

Many regulations safeguarding the good treat- 
ment of the Indians illustrate evils which needed 
correction. For example, no Spaniard of whatever 
station could be carried in a litter by Indians. 4 The 
older form of draughting Indians for labor had been 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VI., tit. V., passim. 
8 Ibid., lib. VI., tit. II., ley i, end ley 3. 
1 Ibid., lib. VI., tits. VIII., IX., passim. 
'Ibid., tit. X., ley 17. 

i S 42] RACE ELEMENTS 261 

prolific in abuses and was later abolished. Indians 
could be assigned by the proper officials to work for 
wages, and the same was done with idle Spaniards, 
mestizos, and negroes ; but it was forbidden that the 
Indians should be carried off against their will or 
kept overtime. If they demanded excessive wages 
the rate was to be settled by the officials. The ab- 
sence of beasts of burden in New Spain, before they 
were introduced by the Spaniards, had necessitated 
all freight being carried by Indian porters ; but the 
Indians were no longer to be compelled to carry 
burdens. Nor were Indian laborers to be appor- 
tioned to work in vineyards or olive groves, factories 
or sugar-mills. If, however, boys wished to work 
in a factory to learn the art of weaving it was per- 
mitted. 1 

The required service of Indians in the mines was 
called the "mita." In Peru not more than one- 
seventh part of the Indians could be assigned on 
the " mita" at once ; nor could an Indian be draught- 
ed again until all his fellow- villagers had completed 
their turn. In New Spain the "mita" drew only 
four from each hundred. For this as for all other 
services they received wages. They were not to be 
sent to poor mines, or employed in draining them of 
water. 2 

One of the fullest pictures that we have of the 
conditions of Indian life in the middle of the colonial 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, tit. XII., passim. 
* Ibid., tit. XV., passim. 


era is that of the English friar Thomas Gage, who 
was for several years stationed in Indian towns in 
Guatemala, and also served as a teacher of Latin in 
Chiapa and as lecturer on divinity in the University 
of Guatemala. After his return he became a Protes- 
tant, and his subsequent views in some respects col- 
ored his narrative. His incidental notices of Ind- 
ian conditions impress the reader as indicating on 
the whole a status superior in its economic possi- 
bilities to that of the European peasantry of that 
day. His chapter devoted to a particular descrip- 
tion of Indian life * is darkly colored, but not more 
so than the average conventional picture of peasant 
life in France on the eve of the Revolution. Gage 
tells us that the apportionment of Indians as labor- 
ers was the occasion of much oppression, and that 
the wages were inadequate, being only about ten 
cents a day. Yet it does not appear that the sys- 
tem in Mexico was more oppressive than the French 

After describing the government of the Indian 
towns, he writes: "They live as in other Civil and 
Politick and Well governed Commonwealths; for in 
most of their Townes, there are some that professe 
such trades as are practised among Spaniards. 
There are amongst them Smiths, Taylors, Carpen- 
ters, Masons, Shoomakers and the like." Some of 
the Indians were excellent architects. "For paint- 
ing they are much inclined to it, and most of the 

1 Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, chap. xix. (London, 1648) . 

i 5 42] RACE ELEMENTS 263 

pictures and altars of the country towns are their 
workmanship. In most of their townes they have a 
schoole, where they are taught to read, to sing, and 
some to write.' 1 1 Humboldt at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century estimated that one-third of the 
Indians lived nearly in the manner of the lower 
people of Spain; 2 the other two-thirds were poorer. 
He quotes an interesting memorial of a bishop of 
Michoacan to the king which takes the ground that 
the laws shielded the Indians too much from the 
world, and so hindered their development that the 
regulation should now be relaxed and the Indian 
given free opportunity to make the most of him- 
self. 8 Depons was led by his observations in Cara- 
cas to a somewhat similar view. 4 

In South America, particularly in Peru, the con- 
dition of the Indians was much worse than in 
Mexico. Ulloa charges the corregidors the royal 
officials for collecting the tribute with ruthlessly 
exploiting the Indians by collecting tributes from 
ages and classes exempt from it, and particularly by 
means of the repartimiento system of supplying 
them with mules and European goods. The cor- 
regidor arbitrarily allotted the mules or the cloths 
to the Indians, which they were compelled to buy at 

1 Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 146. 

3 Humboldt, New Spain, L, 198. Cf. Bancroft, Mexico, III., 
750, who thinks "their material condition much better than that 
of the lowest classes in Europe." 

1 Humboldt, New Spain, I., 89. 

4 Depons, Voyage, L, 226-248. 


exorbitant prices. 1 In the application of the ' ' mita ' ' 
system, which in Peru and Quito was extended to the 
stock-farms and woollen factories, they were prac- 
tically reduced to slavery, overworked, underpaid, 
underfed, and scourged for falling short in their 
tasks. 2 Ulloa goes so far as to say that whatever 
may have been the tyranny of the encomenderos 
of the conqxiest he does not believe it was as bad as 
that of the corregidors and the bosses in the fac- 
tories or the overseers on the plantations and stock- 
farms. 3 

In a later work Ulloa says that the severity of the 
"mita" in the mines had been much exaggerated; 
that more Indians were killed in a year by the im- 
moderate use of brandy than by the mines, includ- 
ing all accidents, in fifty years. The inhumanity 
and destructiveness of the labor in the factories 
he still condemns without qualification. 4 The pro- 
hibition of factory assignments would seem to have 
been a dead letter in Peru. 

The Spanish authorities on the whole encouraged 
marriage between Spaniards and Indian women. 
When Ovando arrived he found most of the three 
hundred Spaniards in Espafiola living with Indian 
women, often the daughters or sisters of chiefs, 

1 Juan and Ulloa, Noticias Secretas, 234, 235. 

9 Ibid., 268-279. Cf. Fr6zier, Voyage, II.,464-47 2 a ndTscbudi 
Peru, 330. The hopelessness of securing reforms led to the 
Indian revolt under Tupac Amaru in 1780. 

f Juan and Ulloa, Noticias Secretas, 279. 

4 Ulloa, Noticias Americanos, 281. 


as concubines. The Franciscan fathers protested 
against this practice, and Ovando ordered the Span- 
iards to marry the women or to separate from them. 1 
As a temporary expedient King Ferdinand in 1512 
urged the sending of Christian white slaves to the 
Indies, and especially to Porto Rico, to become wives. 
This policy Diego Columbus, the governor, opposed, 
so far as Espanola was concerned, because there were 
Castilian women in the island, converts, 2 and the 
settlers would pass them by in favor of the white 
slaves, who were presumably "old Christians." 8 
In 1514 King Ferdinand, apparently recognizing 
the inevitable, issued an ordinance approving of the 
marriage of Spaniards with Indian women. 4 The 
interest of the wives left at home by adventurers 
enlisted the concern of Ovando,end in 1505 the king 
approved of his plan to send such husbands back 
to Spain to fetch their wives. 6 Later, married men, 
even officials of the highest rank, were not allowed 
to go to the Indies without their wives. 6 

In striking contrast to the subsequent policy of 
Louis XIV. in Canada and Louisiana and of the 
English generally, the emigration of single women 
to the colonies was not favored in the later legisla- 
tion, and the king reserved to himself the power to 

1 Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. VI., chap, xviii. 

1 I.e., from Mohammedanism, or "New Christians." 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, Si. 

*Docs. Ined. de Ultramar, IX., aa. 

1 Fabi6, Ensayo Historico, 64. 

f Recofilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XXVI., ley 28. 

2 66 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1550 

grant the necessary license if exception was to be 
made. 1 It was therefore inevitable that there should 
be an excess of white men in the colonies and that 
marriage with Indian women should be common. 
It was Humboldt's estimate in 1803 that not one- 
tenth of the European - born Spaniards in Mexico 
were women. 2 

This mixture of races produced a variety of types 
in the population of Spanish America. The whites 
were divided into the peninsular Spaniards, who 
were called in Mexico gachupines (those who wear 
spurs 8 ), and chapetones ; and in South America, 4 usu- 
ally chapetones, and the American -born Spaniards 
or Creoles. The word Creole, contrary to a prevalent 
idea, indicates nothing as to blood, but only con- 
notes the place of birth : 5 there were Creole whites 
and Creole negroes, the latter being thus disting- 
uished from the bozals or African-born negroes. 

Below the whites came the castas, the mixed 
breeds or blends. Of these the commonest were the 
mestizos, those born of Spaniards and Indian women ; 
in addition, there were the mulattoes, of white and 
negro parentage; the zambos, of negro and Indian 
parentage. Then there were the Indians, and lastly 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes. lib. IX., tit. XXVI., ley 24. 

* Bancroft, Mexico, III., 752. 

1 Alaman, Mejico, I., 7; Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 


4 Ulloa, Voyage, I., 29. 

Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 124; Tschudi, Travels in 
Peru. 80. 


the negroes. Subdivisions of the mulattoes were 
the quadroons and octoroons (quinteroons in Span- 
ish). An alternative name for the zambos in use 
in Mexico and Lima was chino, and the name 
zambo came to be applied to the offspring of a 
negro and mulatto or chino. A black zambo was 
the offspring of a negro and a zambo woman. The 
extremes of the mixtures between whites and 
negroes were, therefore, octoroons (seven-eighths 
white), and black zambos (seven-eighths black). 1 

The European Spaniards were most active in 
commerce and filled the governmental offices in 
church and state. If the Spanish emigrant rose in 
fortune he would marry into a wealthy Creole 
family; if he fell he would marry into one of the 
blends. Many of the Spaniards* came over only to 
make their fortunes and return, but those that 
stayed constantly replenished the Creole stock with 
new blood and energy, to yield again in the next 
generation to idleness and ease. 2 

Manual labor was disdained by the white; and 
even if he had been inclined to engage in it he 
could not compete with the Indian with his simple 
tastes and low standard of living. Miles Philips 
reports that "in that country (Mexico) no Spaniard 
will serve one another. " 3 Similarly Henry Hawkes, 

1 Humboldt, New Spain, I., 243-247. The English translator 
mistakenly renders chino, Chinese woman. Tschudi, Peru, 80, 
8 1, gives the technical names of some twenty varieties of blends. 

3 Alaman, Mejico, I., 10; Bancroft, Mexico, III., 744. 

Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 208. 


a merchant who lived in Mexico five years, told 
Hakluyt in 1572 that the Indians were expert arti- 
sans and would "do worke so cheape that poore 
young men that go out of Spain to get their living 
are not set on worke; which is the occasion there 
are many idle people in the country. For the Ind- 
ian will live all the weeke with lesse than one groat; 
which the Spanyard cannot do, nor any man els." l 
In Lima most of the mechanics Wfcre colored, 
although some were Europeans. 2 In Quito, how- 
ever, the whites avoided any mechanical labor, and 
all the handicrafts were left to mulattoes and 
Indians. 8 There was a spirit of jealousy prevalent 
among the different classes of the population and a 
pride proportionate to the degree of whiteness of the 
complexion. Between the office - holding, enter- 
prising Spaniard and the easy-going Creole there 
was little sympathy of race and much antagonism. 
The Indians, of a morose disposition by nature, 
smothered their resentment against the ruling race. 
The home government welcomed rather than tried 
to allay these antipathies regarding them as an 
element of security. 4 

1 Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 178. 

3 Ulloa, Voyage, II., 55. ' Ibid., I., 263. 

1 Cf. Humboldt, New Spain, I., 261, 262; Bancroft, Mexico, 
III., 740-745; Roscher, Spanish Colonial System, 8. 



THE introduction of negro slavery into the New 
World dates from the year 1502, and its 
history in the Spanish dominions illustrates more 
than one phase of their colonial policy. The in- 
structions to Ovando in 1501, which prohibited the 
passage to the Indies of Jews, Moors, or recent 
converts, authorized him to ta]$e over negro slaves 
that had been born in the power of Christians. 1 
This permission indicates that there were negro 
slaves in the peninsula that had been born there, 
and that at first it was thought best to allow only 
Christian slaves to go to the Indies. Yet even this 
restricted importation Ovando found unwise, and he 
requested the next year that no more should be sent, 
averring that they ran away and demoralized the 
Indians. 2 Isabella gave ear to Ovando's protest 
and withdrew the permission to import negroes. 8 

1 Docs. Ined. de Indias, XXXI., 23. Ovando set sail in Feb- 
ruary, 1502. 

* Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. V., chap. xii. 
1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 62. 



After her death, however, Ferdinand reverted to 
the plan of 1501, and in 1505 sent Ovando seventeen 
negro slaves to work in the copper -mines. 1 Ap- 
parently the regulation excluding any but Chris- 
tianized negroes was evaded, for Ovando received 
orders in 1506 to deport all Berber slaves. 2 

The severity of the labor in the mines proving 
destructive to the Indians, Ferdinand directed the 
Casa de Contractacion in 1510 to send over im- 
mediately fifty slaves, and later on others, up to 
two hundred, to be sold to the settlers. In April 
of that year over a hundred were bought in the 
Lisbon market. This is the beginning of the 
African slave-trade to America. The change of 
climate and the hard work caused a very rapid 
death rate, which perplexed the king. 8 Notwith- 
standing their mortality the negroes were so much 
more efficient than the Indians that Ferdinand took 
measures in 1511 to develop the transportation of 
negroes direct from Guinea. 4 

The problem of labor in tropical colonies where 
nature's bounty relieves man from the necessity of 
hard work for food and clothing has never yet been 
solved in a way that has satisfied at once the demands 
of economic production and humane feeling. The 
Spanish government tried to accomplish both ends, 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 63. 

1 Ibid., 63 ; Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. VI., chap. xx. 

* Saco. Historia de la Esclavitud, 67. 

4 Herrera, Historia General, dec. I., lib. IX., chap. v. 

1517] NEGRO SLAVES 271 

in a measure, by sparing the Indian at the expense 
of the African. In 1517 this policy commended 
itself to the Dominican clergy in Espanola, 1 to the 
special commission of Jeronimite friars sent out to 
take charge of Indian affairs, 2 to the lawyer Zuazo, 
who accompanied the Jeronimites, 8 to the proctors 
of the towns in Espanola, to Justice Figueroa, 4 
president of the audiencia, and to Las Casas, the 
ardent champion of the Indians. 5 Las Casas, 
however, still adhered to the policy of importing 
negroes from Spain, while the Jeronimites and 
Zuazo urged the importation of the bozal negroes, 
those direct from Africa. 

The government, convinced by Las Casas' ar- 
guments, which apparently antedated somewhat 
those of the Jeronimite friars, ^decided in 1517 to 
ship four thousand negroes to the islands, and thus 
initiated what became the historic policy of Spain 
in controlling the slave-trade the letting it out by 
contract, or asiento as it was called ; which, however, 
did not prevent the crown from granting limited 
licenses to other courtiers and to settlers. The 
first contractor, Lorenzo de Gomenot, the governor 
of Bresa, agreed to introduce four thousand negroes 

1 Saco, Historic, de la Esclavitud, 89. 

2 Docs. Ined. de Indias, I., 284. Cf. also Helps, Spanish Con- 
quest (Oppenheim's ed.), I., 362-365. 

8 Docs. Ined. de Indias, I., 326. 

4 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 92. 

8 Historia de las Indias, IV., 380. Saco reviews the discus- 
sion as to Las Casas' suggestions, Historia de la Esclavitud, 

272 SPAIN -IN AMERICA [1517 

in eight years, and he immediately sold his contract 
to some Genoese for twenty-five thousand ducats. 1 
The development of the sugar industry and the 
growth of slavery were dependent upon each other, 
especially after the mines in the Antilles gave out. 
Each trapiche, or sugar-mill, run by horses or mules, 
required thirty or forty negroes, and each water- 
mill eighty at the least. 2 Had the commerce of the 
islands been reasonably free, plantation slavery on a 
large scale would have rapidly developed, and the 
history of Hayti and the English islands would 
have been anticipated a century by the Spaniards. 

The number of negroes to be imported under the 
various contracts and the size of the bonus paid for 
the privilege rose steadily. The asiento made with 
the Germans Ciguer and Sailler in 1528 provided 
for a bonus to the government of twenty thousand 
ducats, in consideration of which the contractors 
were allowed to take four thousand negroes to the 
Indies in four years, to be sold at not more than 
forty-five ducats apiece. The Germans sublet the 
contract to some Portuguese, who supplied slaves 
of so poor a quality that many protests came to the 
Council of the Indies from the islands. 8 In conse- 
quence no new asiento was made for several years. 

In 1536 contractors offered the government twen- 
ty-six thousand ducats down for a new asiento to im- 
port f our thousand in four years, but they were out- 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, in. 
1 Ibid., 128. * Ibid., 146, 147. 

i6oo] NEGRO SLAVES 273 

bid by others; neither proposal was accepted. In 
1552 a contract was made with one Ferdinand 
Ochoa, by which he was to buy licenses to intro- 
duce twenty-three thousand negroes, paying eight 
ducats per license, or one hundred thousand down 
and twelve thousand per year for seven years. 
This contract was annulled before it was entirely 
carried out. 1 

The personal union between Spain and Portugal 
from 1580 to 1640 led to the practice of awarding 
slave-trading contracts to Portuguese, since the 
trading stations on the African coast belonged to 
Portugal. The contract of 1595 with Gomez Reynel 
was the most elaborate and extensive up to that 
date: it provided for the exclusive privilege of im- 
porting during nine years thirty -eight thousand 
two hundred and fifty negro slaves at the rate of 
four thousand two hundred and fifty per annum, of 
whom at least three thousand five hundred must be 
landed alive in America. In return, the enormous 
bonus of nine hundred thousand ducats was pay- 
able in annual instalments of one hundred thousand. 
For every negro short of the yearly quota the con- 
tractor was to forfeit ten ducats. The negroes must 
be fresh from Africa, with no mulattoes, mestizos, 
Turks, Moriscos, or any other nation mixed in. 1 
Owing to Reynel's death in 1600, the contract was 
transferred to one Juan Rodriguez Cutino and ex- 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 210. 

2 lbid. t 240-245. 


tended till 1609.* After that date the business was 
carried on in the name of the king till 1615, when 
Rodriguez Delvas agreed to pay one hundred and 
fifteen thousand ducats a year for the privilege, 
under which he might import up to five thousand, 
but never less than three thousand five hundred 
annually. 2 

The foregoing examples illustrate the nature of 
the asientos, or contracts for importing slaves, made 
by the Spanish government. The chief changes in 
the later years may be briefly indicated. In 1696 
the Portuguese Royal Guinea Company secured the 
contract, but its business was interrupted by the 
European war and the company was dissolved in 
1 70 1. 8 The alliance between Spain and France and 
the establishment of the French Royal Guinea Com- 
pany led to the asiento being granted to this com- 
pany in 1 701, which undertook to import three thou- 
sand to four thousand eight hundred a year for ten 
years. 4 The results of the War of the Spanish Suc- 
cession cut short the experience of the French with 
the asiento, which the English obtained for the 
South Sea Company as one of the spoils of war by 
the treaty of Utrecht. The new asiento was to last 
thirty years and to secure the importation of one 
hundred and forty-four thousand negroes at the 
rate of four thousand eight hundred per year. For 
four thousand a duty of 33 J pesos [dollars] was to 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 247. 

* Ibid., 250. * Ibid., 289. 4 Ibid., 292. 

i8o8] NEGRO SLAVES 275 

be paid (the odd eight hundred being exempt from 
duty). The company agreed to pay the king $200,- 
ooo. This arrangement lasted, with interruptions 
caused by wars, until 1750.* 

It will be seen that our data for estimating the 
annual importation of slaves into Spanish America 
are far more numerous and satisfactory than for the 
immigration of Spaniards. For the two hundred 
years, 1550 to 1750, we may estimate the importa- 
tions of the asientists at an average of at least three 
thousand a year. Besides these were the illicit 
forced importations of the English and French cor- 
sairs, who, like Sir John Hawkins, would market 
kidnapped Africans with guns trained on reluctant 
customers. 2 Such illicit importations we can only 
guess at, but perhaps five hundred a year is not 
far wrong. This would give a total of seven hun- 
dred thousand for the two centuries. In 1808 
Humboldt estimated the negro population of 
Spanish America at seven hundred and seventy- 
six thousand. 3 It would seem from these figures 
that the negro population barely held its own 
from generation to generation and increased solely 
by importation. 4 At the beginning of the nine- 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 295-311. In the eighteenth 
century the peso is the familiar Spanish dollar. 

'Hakluyt, Voyages, XV., 146. 

Humboldt, Travels, VI., 835. 

4 Humboldt notes that in the eighteenth century in Cuba the 
lumber of males greatly exceeded the females. Travels, VII., 


teenth century the annual death rate of the 
newly imported Africans in Cuba was seven per 
cent. 1 Hence, as the Spanish were on the whole 
easy masters, one may well doubt whether the 
prevalent view is correct that the negro was readily 
acclimated in the New World. 2 Under the earlier 
asientos the slave-ships were to go to America with 
the annual fleets, but of the size of the ships and the 
conditions of the voyage we have few particulars. 
Sandoval, in his work on the negro, reports one 
captain as confessing his misgivings about the 
business ; he had just suffered a shipwreck in 
which only thirty out of nine hundred on board 
escaped. 8 

In the earlier days of slavery in the colony it was 
felt to be necessary for the sake of security not to 
have the ratio between slaves and whites higher 
than three to one, though some were ready in 1532 
to risk five to one. Prices varied at this time from 
fifty to seventy pesos on the islands, and from one 
hundred to one hundred and fifty on the isthmus. 
Twenty years later a scale of prices fixed by law 

1 Humboldt, New Spain, I., 236; cf. also Travels, VII., 153. 

2 Shaler, The Neighbor, 131-132. "The negro endured such 
a transition without any perceptible shock," etc. In Hum- 
boldt 's time the English West Indies contained seven hun- 
dred thousand negroes and mulattoes, free and slave, while the 
custom-house registers proved that from 1680 to 1786 two mill- 
ion one hundred and thirty thousand negroes had been im- 
ported from Africa. Travels, VII., 147. 

'Sandoval, De Instauranda ALthiopum Salute (Madrid, 1647), 

1647] NEGRO SLAVES 277 

varied from one hundred ducats in the West Indies 
to one hundred and eighty in Chili. 1 

There is hardly any trace in the whole history of 
the Spanish system of anything analogous to the 
indented servants of the English colonies or the en- 
gag6s of the French islands. The only parallels 
which have been noted are the following instances in 
the earlier period of the carrying of white slaves to 
the Indies; and these white slaves seem to have been 
chattel slaves and not temporary bond servants. 
In 1504 Ojeda was authorized to take five white 
slaves, and in 1512 Peralta received permission to 
take two white Christian slaves to Porto Rico. In 
the same year the king instructed the Casa de Con- 
tractacion to send over white Christian slaves to 
become wives of the colonists, as they would be pref- 
erable to the Indian women. Twenty years later, 
in 1532, the Council of the Indies granted twenty 
licenses to Spaniards to take white slaves to the 
Indies. 2 

We are accustomed to think of the Pennsylvania 
Quakers and Judge Sewall as uttering the first pub- 
lic protest in America against negro slavery; but 
the Jesuit Alphonso Sandoval, born in Seville, but 
educated in Peru, where his father was the king's 
treasurer, in his work on the history and customs of 
the negroes, lifts his voice clearly against slavery 
and the slave-trade, and brings out the point that 

^aco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 144, i$9. l6 4. i?3 2I2 - 
* lbid. t 62, 73, 80, 164. 


the constant market for slaves on the coast is a 
prolific cause of wars in the interior of Africa. 1 

Slavery never became deeply rooted in Spanish 
America outside of the Antilles and the northern 
coast region of South America, for reasons in the 
main similar to those which limited its extent in the 
middle and northern English colonies. The altitude 
in New Spain was unfavorable to the negro, and the 
work was mainly done by the Indian peasants. 
Humboldt estimated that not more than a hundred 
negroes were imported annually into Mexico. In the 
census of 1793 only six thousand negro slaves were 
returned. 2 That independent Mexico abolished 
slavery came about as naturally as the abolition 
of the institution in New York. 

In Peru negro slavery was most conspicuous 
in Lima as a phase of the luxury that characterized 
the lives of the Spaniards and Creoles. The total 
number of negroes in Peru, while much greater than 
in New Spain, was small compared with Venezuela 
and Cuba. In a statement of the population drawn 
up towards the end of the eighteenth century the 
number of free colored people is placed at forty-one 
thousand four hundred and four and the number of 

1 Sandoval, De Instauranda Mthiopum Salute, part I., lib. 
I., chaps, xxii., xxvii.; extracts in Saco, Historic, de la Esclavitud, 
253-256. Sandoval, p. 100, quotes a letter of Padre Luis 
Brandaon, rector of the College of Sao Paulo de Loanda in 1611, 
estimating the annual export of slaves from Sao Paulo de 
Loanda at ten thousand to twelve thousand. 

'Humboldt, New Spain, I., 236, 237. The total number of 
slaves was not more than ten thousand. 

I82 3 ] 



slaves at forty thousand three hundred and thirty- 
seven. 1 In the captaincy -general of Caracas, De- 
pons estimated the number of slaves at two hun- 
dred and eighteen thousand and the descendants of 
freedmen at two hundred and ninety-one thousand, 
the two outnumbering the whites as seven to two. 2 
In 1775 the number of slaves in Cuba was about 
forty-six thousand and the number of free colored 
about thirty thousand. 3 

With the relaxation of the trade laws the economic 
development of Cuba went forward by leaps, and the 
average importation of slaves for the ten years, 
1790-1799, was over five thousand. 4 In spite of the 
great increase of the slave population Cuba never 
became so extreme a type of the old plantation 
colony as the English and French West Indies. A 
comparison of Cuba and Jamaica in 1823, when the 
number of slaves had been rapidly increasing beyond 
what had been the relative proportions of the popula- 
tion under the earlier regime, will illustrate the point. 







71 <\.OOO 



260 ooo 



O* j v/v -' v ' 


342. OOO * 

In Jamaica the ratio of slaves to whites was about 

1 Markham, in Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., VIII., 321. 

2 Depons, Voyage, I., 105. 

8 Humboldt, Travels, VII., in, na. 
a., 146. 



thirteen and a half to one. In Hayti, in the French 
part, the ratio between slaves and whites was about 
eleven to one. 1 

A comparative study of the status and treatment 
of slaves in the Spanish, French, and English 
colonies reveals the fact, surprising to-day, so wide- 
spread is the view that the Spanish colonial sys- 
tem was pre-eminently oppressive, that the Spanish 
slave code was far more humane than either the 
French or the English slave laws. In law the 
Spanish slave had a right, if ill treated, to choose a 
master less severe if he could induce him to buy him, 
to marry a wife of his own choice, to buy his liberty 
at the lowest market rate, and to buy his wife and 
children. If he were cruelly treated he could ap- 
peal to the courts and might be declared free. 
In fact, the Spanish laws and the administration 
favored emancipation at every turn. 2 If negroes 
questioned the legality of their enslavement the 
courts were to hear their cause. 3 Sandoval men- 
tions such a case in which the audiencia of Mexico 
liberated a claimant on rather slight evidence. 4 
Charles III. laid down the principle in 1789 that 
fugitive slaves who by just means obtained their 
liberty were not to be restored. 5 In Peru the slaves 

1 Humboldt, Travels, VI. , 824. 

1 Ibid., VII. , 276-278; Humboldt, New Spain, I., 241; Depons, 
Voyage, I., 164-166, summarizes a royal ordinance of 1789, 
which demanded so much for the slaves that the local authorities 
nullified it. s Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VIL, tit. V., ley 8. 

* Sandoval, De Instauranda Mthiopum Salute, 103. 

6 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 361. 

i775l NEGRO SLAVES 281 

were permitted to work for themselves five or six 
hours a day. 1 

The beneficent consequences of this humane 
legislation appear in the large number of free 
colored people everywhere in the Spanish colonies. 
In Peru they slightly exceeded the slaves in number ; 
in Caracas the excess was larger, the free con- 
stituting four-sevenths of the colored population ; in 
Cuba, in 1775, the slaves stood to the free as four 
and six-tenths to three. In Jamaica, on the other 
hand, the number of free colored persons was less 
than one-tenth the number of slaves, and in Hayti 
less than one-sixteenth. 2 

On the relative humanity of the Spanish laws in 
regard to slavery there can be no doubt; but whether 
Spanish slaves were more kindly treated than French 
or English is a different and more difficult question. 
Prevalent public opinion, Depons tells us, believed 
they were, but he expresses his dissent in some re- 
spects. In his view the slaves suffered from neglect 
rather than severities. The Spanish masters were 
very solicitous in Caracas that the slaves should say 
their prayers, but unconcerned as to whether they 
had enough to eat and to wear. Shiftlessness and 
not harshness was the cause of their sufferings. 3 

1 Tschudi, Peru, 76. 

2 See above, p. 281, and Htimboldt, Travels, VI. , 820, 824. 

3 Depons, Voyage, I., 159-164, 



THE first impulse of Ferdinand and Isabella 
was to throw open the commerce with the 
newly discovered lands to all their subjects; and 
this was done in 1495, with the proviso that trading 
voyages should start from Cadiz and return thither. 
Columbus, however, although his right to load an 
eighth part of every cargo was reserved, protested; 
and the privilege was revoked in 1497.* When the 
Casa de Contractacion was established in 1503 the 
trade with the Indies was to be confined to Seville, 
the commercial and political capital of Castile. In 
1505 King Philip I. extended the privilege of 
trading with the Indies to resident foreigners in 
Spain provided that they employed native Span- 
iards as their agents. 2 

The confinement of the trade to Seville was early 
felt to be detrimental to the colonists, and the 
representatives of the towns in Espanola vainly 
petitioned in 1508 that the trade might be thrown 
open to the other Spanish ports. 3 In 1525, in the 

1 Navarrete, Viages, II., 165 ff., 201; Memorials of Columbus, 
89 ff., 96. 2 Col. de Docs. Ined. de Ultramar t V., 78, 79. 

8 Fabi, Ens ay o Historic <?, 78. 



expectation that the Spice Islands might be reached 
by a northern route, a casa de contractacion was 
established in Coruna and from that port Estevan 
Gomez sailed on his exploring expedition. 1 

Four years later, in 1529, Charles V. authorized 
ships to sail to the Indies from Coruna, Bayonne, 
Aviles, Laredo, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Cartagena, 
Cadiz, and Malaga, provided that on their return 
they reported at Seville. 2 This last condition was 
unfavorable to any considerable export trade of 
agricultural products from the islands, and in 1532 
the audiencia of Espafiola petitioned that the 
colonists be allowed to carry sugar, cassia, hides, and 
other products of the island, not only to Flanders, 
but to other European ports, asserting that it was 
the restriction of their trade to Seville which was 
most ruinous to the islands. 3 Any relaxation, 
however, of the monopoly of Seville was strenuously 
opposed by her merchants and by the other towns 
in Castile, and there is a doubt whether the decree 
of 1529 was ever actually put into operation; 4 
certainly the arrangement was of short duration. 
Again in 1540 the authorities of Espafiola com- 
plained that prices were depressed by restriction to 
Seville ships, which were inadequate to carry off 
their sugar, hides, and cassia. 5 In 1558 ships from 

1 Hen-era, Historia General, dec. III., lib. VIII., chap. viii. 
1 Fable", 227; Col. de Docs. Ined. de Ultramar, IX., 401. 
8 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 158. 

4 Ibid., 150; Armstrong, Charles V., II., 47. 

5 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 182. 


Espafiola and Porto Rico were permitted to unload 
their cargo, including specie and pearls, at Cadiz, 
provided the latter were in proper packages and 
legally reported to the Casa de Contractacion. 1 

In the earlier days, before the gold and silver of 
Mexico and Peru constituted so important a part of 
the return cargo, commerce was carried on in in- 
dependent vessels; but the development of piracy 
gradually compelled the Spanish ships to and from 
the Indies to go in fleets. 3 When the Italian Ben- 
zoni went to America in 1541 he found ships con- 
stantly going to the Indies from the Canaries ; when 
he returned in 1556 it was with a fleet of fourteen 
vessels. 1 In 1555 Robert Tomson waited in the 
Canaries for the Seville fleet, which that year con- 
sisted of eight vessels. 4 But apparently the Indian 
commerce was not yet wholly confined to these 
fleets, for Badoero, the Venetian ambassador, re- 
ported on his return in 1557 that perhaps a hundred 
ships went yearly from Seville to the Indies. 6 Tie- 
polo, who made his report in 1563, places the num- 
ber at sixty or seventy. 6 

In 1561, however, the system of fleets was legally 
established and lasted nearly two hundred years. 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XLII., ley 27. 
8 Cf. Habler, Die Wirthschaftliche Blute Spaniens, 54, *., for 
the dates of earlier fleets. 
1 Benzoni, History of the New World, i, 258. 
4 Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 139-141. 
1 AlWri, Relation* Venete, ist series, III., 261. 


The ordinance of that year required, for the pro- 
tection of the Indian trade, that every year there 
should be equipped in the river by Seville and in the 
ports of Cadiz and San Lucar de Barrameda two fleets 
and a naval escort for the Indies one for New Spain, 
the other for Terra Firma. 1 In the sixteenth cen- 
tury on the outward voyage the fleets ordinarily put 
in at the Canaries, whence they sailed to the West 
Indies. At the island of Dominica the vessels for 
the islands and for Mexico would separate. 2 On the 
return voyage the two fleets and the ships from the 
islands, from Honduras and Yucatan would rendez- 
vous at Havana and sail for Spain together, making 
a stop at the Azores to learn if the coast of Spain 
was free from corsairs. 3 If, however, there were as 
many as six ships from Es^anola they might secure 
a license to come on together without waiting for 
the fleet. 4 

The safe arrival of the fleets was announced and 
official orders transmitted to the viceroys by packet- 
boats of not more than sixty tons burden, which 
were not to carry any freight or passengers. This 
despatch service consisted of two trips each year to 
Terra Firma and two to New Spain. 6 During the 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XXX., ley i. Terra 
Firma was the usual Spanish name for the northern coast 
region of South America. 

* Velasco, Description de las Indias, 64. 

1 Ibid., Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XLII., ley 24. 

*Ibid., ley 26. 

., tit. XXXVII. , ley 5, and note after ley 22. 


latter part of the sixteenth century the* regularity 
of the voyages of the fleets to New Spain was dis- 
turbed by the war with the Netherlands and Eng- 
land, so that only eleven fleets arrived at Vera Cruz 
in the last twenty years of the century. 1 

It would appear, however, that the limitation of 
commerce to the fleets was evaded, although at the 
risk of confiscation of vessel and cargo. Shipmas- 
ters and traders, under the pretence of having been 
driven out of their course by storms, would put into 
West Indian ports. 3 Ships in the Canaries, osten- 
sibly loaded for France or England, would cross the 
Atlantic westward. Ships, too, owned in the Cana- 
ries would load with wines, linens, or other contra- 
band goods bought of foreigners and then slip over 
to the West Indies. 8 Such may have been the case 
with the ship in which John Chilton, an English 
Seville merchant, went to Mexico in 1568, as there 
is no reference to a fleet in his account. 4 

The Venetian ambassador Donato, who gives a 
fuller account of the Indies in 1573 than is to be 
found in the other Venetian relations, says that the 
two fleets to New Spain and Peru consisted of thirty 
vessels each. 8 After 1578 the naval escort normally 
consisted of nine galleons and eight frigates, with 

1 Alaman, Disertaciones, III., App. No. ao; Bancroft, Mexico, 
II., 75*. 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX., tit. XXXVIII. , ley 6. 
/<*., tit. XLIL.ley 15. 
4 Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 156. 
* Albri, Relazioni Venete, VI., 453, 454. 


one thousand five hundred persons, of whom nine 
hundred and fifty were marines, the rest officers and 
crews. 1 When Miles Philips returned in 1582 there 
were thirty-seven ships, "and in every one of them 
there was as good as thirty pipes of silver one with 
another, besides great store of gold, cochinilla, 
sugars, hides, and Cana Fistula with other apothe- 
cary drugs." 2 

The Indian fleet of 1625 on which Thomas Gage 
sailed for Vera Cruz, intending to go to the Phil- 
ippines, consisted of thirty-three ships and eight 
galleons as escort. Gage reports the destination of 
the vessels as follows: "To Puerto Rico went that 
year two ships ; to Santo Domingo three ; to Jamaica 
two; to Margarita one; to the Havana two; to 
Cartagena three; to Camp^che two; to Honduras 
and Truxillo two; and to St. John Dilua, or Vera 
Cruz, sixteen; all laden with Wines, Figs, Raisins, 
Olives, Oyle, Cloth, Carsies, Linnen, Iron, and Quick- 
silver for the mines." 8 Among the passengers were 
a new viceroy for Mexico, a new president for Manila, 
with a mission of thirty Jesuits and a Dominican 
mission of twenty-seven friars for the Philippines, 
and twenty-four Mercenarian friars for Mexico 
their escort was to protect them from the Turks and 

The fleet that came in 1637 to Porto Bello con- 

1 Velasco, Description de las Indias, 88. 

Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 223. 

1 Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 15. 


sisted of eight galleons and ten merchant ships. 1 
Alvarez Osorio, writing about the year 1686, gives 
the make-up of the Porto Bello fleet as eight galleons, 
one galleon for the silver, the tender from Mar- 
garita, and ten ships of different burden, with a 
total capacity of fifteen thousand tons for the whole 
fleet. The fleet from New Spain was composed of 
two galleons, a tender, and twenty ships, with a total 
capacity for the whole fleet of twelve thousand five 
hundred tons. 2 

The average length of the voyage from Spain to 
Mexico was two months and a half and the esti- 
mated distance about six thousand five hundred 
miles. 8 Experience showed that the most favorable 
seasons for setting out for New Spain was from 
April i to the end of May; and for the isthmus, 
August or September. Later, however, it was or- 
dained that the Terra Firma fleet should start 
between March 15 and March 3i. 4 On the Pacific 
the voyage from Panama to Lima, owing to head 
winds and adverse currents, usually took two months, 
although the distance was not over one thousand 
five hundred miles. If the voyage was continued to 
Chili another two months was consumed ; but the re- 
turn could be accomplished in less than half the time. 1 

1 Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 196. 
'Colmeiro, Historia de la Economia Politica de Espana t II., 

1 Velasco, Description de las Indias, 64. 

4 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. IX. f tit. XXXVI., ley 13 (1619). 
1 Velasco, Description de las Indias, 83. 


A curious phase of the commercial regulations of 
the Spanish colonial system grew out of the trade 
with the Philippine Islands, where the founda- 
tions of Spanish rule were laid by Legaspi (1564- 
1565) in an expedition equipped in Mexico. The 
Portuguese monopoly of the Eastern seas and the 
difficulty and danger of navigating the Straits of 
Magellan made these islands, lying on the outmost 
verge of the Spanish Empire, a dependency of New 
Spain. In the early years of the conquest of the 
islands their commerce was unrestricted; but soon 
the fear of the competition of Chinese silks with 
those of Spain in the Lima market led to a series of 
protective measures which seem highly unwise to- 
day. First came the prohibition of the importation 
of Chinese fabrics into Peru; then a prohibition of 
all direct trade between South America and the 
Philippines or China; and then a law limiting the 
shipments from the Philippines to Mexico to two 
hundred and fifty thousand pesos annually, and 
from Mexico to the Philippines to five hundred 
thousand. The trade between China and the 
islands was restricted to the Chinese. 1 

Notwithstanding these restrictions Chinese goods 
were smuggled into Lima, and in consequence all 
trade between New Spain and Peru was interdicted 
in i636. a So complete an embargo could not be 
enforced, and Ulloa reports that it was systemat- 

1 Tit. XLV. of lib. IX. of the Recopilacio* d* Leyes is devoted 
to the trade with the Philippines. * Ibid., ley 78. 


ically evaded at Guayaquil with the collusion of 
the officials. 1 In the cargo of the annual ship from 
Manila to Acapulco every Spaniard in the Philip- 
pines could share in proportion to his means or 
standing, and these chances were bought and sold. 2 
The passenger service was, of course, limited mainly 
to officials and missionaries. The fare from Manila 
to Acapulco at the end of the eighteenth century 
was $1000, and $500 for the return. 8 When the 
Italian traveller Gemelli went from Manila to Aca- 
pulco he was two hundred and four days on the sea. 
He described it as a voyage " which is enough to 
destroy a man or make him unfit for anything as 
long as he lives. 1 ' Ordinarily the voyage to Manila 
required ninety days. 4 

Another strange example of the vagaries of Span- 
ish protective policy is presented by the severe 
restrictions on trade between Spain and Buenos 
Ayres, now the commercial metropolis of Spanish 
America. From 1535 to 1579 direct trade between 
Buenos Ayres and Spain was prohibited. There- 
after the policy vacillated between absolute pro- 
hibition and the permission of a few vessels especially 
licensed. In 1580 Buenos Ayres was refounded, but 
its interests were wholly subordinated to those of 
Peru. The effective reasons for not opening that 

1 Juan and Ulloa, Noticias Seer etas, 201, 202. 
* For details, see E. G. Bourne, " Historical Introduction " to 
The Philippine Islands, ed. by Blair and Robertson, I., 62-70. 
1 Zuniga, Estadismo de las Islas Filipinos, L, 268. 
4 Churchill, Voyages, IV., 491, 499. 


port to direct trade with Spain were : that the region 
did not produce gold and silver ; that its trade would 
attract capital from Peru; that merchandise would 
enter Buenos Ayres for Peru and Chili cheaper than 
via Panama, which would be detrimental to the 
fleet, and would bring upon the Porto Bello fair 
losses which would more than counterbalance the 
gains to Buenos Ayres; and lastly, that the La 
Plata region was a healthy country and could be 
self-sufficient. 1 

Total prohibitions and stifling restrictions on 
trade alike proved incapable of complete execution. 
The authorization of the slave-trade to the extent 
of importing six hundred negroes a year (1595-1596) 
opened the door for smuggling. 2 In 1623 the evil 
was so great as to call for heavy penalties by an 
ordinance which recorded the fact that many passen- 
gers enter the port of Buenos Ayres for Peru, and 
that ships load in Portugal with all kinds of goods 
and then go to Buenos Ayres. 3 

The fleet system has been compared to the mediae- 
val caravan system of transportation, and, like its 
prototype, it involved the fair as the agency of ex- 
cliange and distribution. The Peru fleet in the 
eighteenth century first made the port of Cartagena 
the distributing centre for what is now Colombia 
and Ecuador. At one time the overland trade 
from Quito was extended to Peru, to the detriment 

1 Mitr, Historia de Belgrano, I., 29. * Ibid., 30. 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. VIII., tit. XIV., ley 13. 


of the Lima merchants who attended the Porto 
Bello fair; and consequently, in response to their pro- 
test, all trade in European commodities between 
Quito and Lima was prohibited after the arrival of 
the fleet to Cartagena was announced. During the 
presence of the fleet there was bustling activity at 
Cartagena; then came the long "dead time," broken 
only by the occasional arrival of a small coasting 
vessel from the islands or from Central America. 1 

Of much greater importance was the fair at Porto 
Bello on the isthmus, which was the emporium of the 
Peruvian trade. As the town was extremely un- 
healthy the fleet usually remained at Cartagena 
until word was received of the arrival of the fleet 
from Peru at Panama. During the fair, which, for 
sanitary reasons, was limited to forty days, the 
town was so crowded that a single shop would rent 
for $1000 and large houses for $5000. While the 
ships were unloading, long droves of mules loaded 
with boxes of gold and silver, each drove numbering 
over a hundred, were threading their way across the 
isthmus. Bulkier goods like cacao, quinine, Vicuna 
wool, would come down the Chagres River by boats. 
Streets, squares, and houses were filled with bates 
and boxes, and an enormous business was transacted 
in the six weeks at the disposal of the merchants.* 

Thomas Gage, the English friar, saw this fair in 
1637, when the fleet was small and the sale lasted 
only a fortnight. For a room which "was but as a 

1 Ulloa, Voyage, I., 79-84- * /wa - X0 3 ff - 


mouse-hole" he was charged $120. All prices of 
food rose : fowls ordinarily selling for a rial (twelve 
and one-half cents) now brought $1.50, " and a pound 
of beef then was worth two Rialls, whereas I had 
had in other places thirteen pound for half a Riall." 
What he "most wondered at was to see the requas 
(droves) of mules which came thither from Panama, 
laden with wedges of silver; in one day I told two 
hundred mules laden with nothing else, which were 
laden in the publicke market place, so that there the 
heapes of silver wedges lay like heaps of stones in 
the street without any fear or suspition of being lost." 

Gage calls Porto Bello an "open grave ready to 
swallow in part of that numerous people, which at 
that time resort unto it, as was seen the year that 
I was there when about five hundred of the souldiers, 
merchants, and mariners, what with Feavers, what 
with the Flux caused by too much eating of fruit 
and drinking of water, what with other disorders lost 
their lives, finding it to be to them not Porto Bello, 
but Porto malo." 1 The same dark cloud hung over 
Vera Cruz during its fairs. In 1556 four out of the 
eight members of the family of the merchant John 
Field died in ten days, 2 and Cubero Sebastian says 
that while he was there " it was a rare day in which he 
did not bury three or four cachupins" 3 (Spaniards). 

The system of fleets and fairs was perhaps the in- 

1 Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 196-198. 

'Hakluyt, Voyages, XIV., 145- 

1 Cubero Sebastian, Peregrination del Mundo (ed. 1688), 282. 


evitable solution of the problem how to handle a 
commerce of relatively high value in small bulk with 
a region whose sea-approaches were in sickly tropical 
lowlands, at a time when corsairs and pirates swept 
the ocean. 1 With the development of more inter- 
national respect for property on the sea, the im- 
provement in ship-building, and the increase of 
colonial .population, the fleet system became pain- 
fully inadequate; yet the vested interests were so 
strongly intrenched that changes were slow and re- 
forms came only in response to outside pressure. 

The gradual establishment of colonies by the other 
European states in the West Indies made an irre- 
parable breach in the Spanish system. The Eng- 
lish and Dutch islands in particular became the 
centres of wholesale smuggling. 2 From this illicit 
trade Venezuela, hitherto neglected in the Spanish 
system, profited greatly. Of momentous importance 
in breaking down the tight wall of commercial mon- 
opoly was the war of the Spanish Succession waged by 
Holland and England to prevent the establishment 
upon the throne of Spain of Louis XI Ws grandson 
and the possible personal union of the two states at 
some subsequent time. Such a union, or even the 
close family alliance of the two powers, would give 
Prance a paramount interest in the Spanish-Amer- 

1 The fleet system was used by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and 
the English in their trade with the East Indies. 

2 Roscher, Spanish Colonial System, 37; Depons, Voyage, II., 


icon world. Soon after the war broke put Louis 
XIV. authorized the merchants of St. Malo to trade 
with Lima, which gave rise to a flourishing commerce 
through the Straits of Magellan. The early comers 
were reported to have made eight hundred per cent., 
but their privilege was cut off upon the restoration 
of peace. 1 

The result of the contest secured to England by 
the peace of Utrecht in 1713 the asiento or the 
monopoly of the African slave-trade with the Span- 
ish possessions, with the right of importing four 
thousand eight hundred negroes per annum, and 
also the right to send one registered ship of five hun- 
dred tons burden to Porto Bello. This breach was 
widened by the factors of the English South Sea 
Company, who secretly increased the capacity of 
the single ship and accompanied her with transports 
which kept out of sight by day and from which she 
was reloaded in the night. 2 

After such a concession the monopoly of Seville 
could hardly be maintained. First came the transfer 
of the monopoly to Cadiz in 1717 to relieve ships of 
the inconvenient voyage up the Guadalquivir, which 
was growing shallow. In 1728 the commercial com- 
pany of Guipuzcoa was chartered with the privilege 
of despatching registered ships from San Sebastian 
to Caracas. Six years later the company of Galicia 

1 Robertson, America (ed. 1831), 267; Colmeiro, Hist, de la 
Econ. Pol., II., 421. 
2 Ulloa, Voyage, I., 105, 106; Robertson, America, 267, 268. 


was accorded the right to send two registered ships 
to Campeche and to sell any surplus at Vera Cruz. 1 
The competition of smugglers and of the illegally 
swollen importations of the English through the 
authorized single ship sapped the commerce of the 
fleets, until hardly anything was left for them to 
carry except the king's royalty of one-fifth of the 
product of the silver-mines. 3 

To recover this loss of trade, the Spanish govern- 
ment authorized the merchants of Cadiz and Seville 
to send registered ships at more frequent intervals 
and to any ports where there might be a special 
demand; but in 1748 the fleets were finally discon- 
tinued. The Barcelona Company in 1755 undertook 
the revival of Spanish trade with the islands, 3 but 
it was at a perilous time, for Spain was ultimately 
drawn into the Seven Years' War. 

It was from one of the apparent misfortunes of 
this struggle that Spain received a powerful object- 
lesson in the value of free commerce to colonies. 
When the English captured Havana in 1762 they 
opened the port to all English ships. The possibil- 
ities of Cuban commerce were immediately revealed, 
for in the short period they held the city less than a 
y ear seven hundred and twenty-seven merchant 
vessels entered the harbor. 4 The enlightened Charles 
III. of Spain, profiting by this example, opened the 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 324. 

1 Robertson, America, 268. 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud, 324. 

4 Ibid., 325, on the authority of English periodicals. 


trade of the islands in 1765 and of Louisiana in 
1768* to eight Spanish ports besides Cadiz, and 
relaxed many of the regulations that had hampered 
the merchants. 2 The prosperity of Cuba dates from 
the English capture of Havana. 

In 1774 the prohibition of intercolonial commerce 
on the Pacific between Peru, New Spain, Guate- 
mala, and New Granada was removed. 8 Four years 
later Buenos Ayres, Peru, and Chili were opened to 
direct trade from the Spanish ports that were al- 
lowed to trade with the islands, and Palma, in Ma- 
jorca, and Tenerife, in the Canaries, were added to 
the list. On the American side twenty-three ports 
were opened in the Atlantic and Pacific, the only 
important exceptions being those of Venezuela, 
which were reserved for the Guipuzcoa Company. 4 
In 1782 New Orleans and Pensacola were allowed 
to trade with French ports where there were Spanish 
consuls. 5 It may be questioned whether in any 
other country such radical and extensive relaxations 
of the restrictions on colonial commerce were ever 
made in so short a time as those in Spain under 
Charles III. It is one of many illustrations that 
whatever the drawbacks of despotic government it 
possesses a distinct advantage over more popular 
systems in the rapidity with which political, com- 
mercial, and social reforms may be brought about. 

1 Roscher, Spanish Colonial System, 39. 

1 Saco, Historia de la Esctavitud. 

*Ibid. t 329. 4 /fctW., 337. * Ibid., 339. 


The subject of Spanish colonial commerce has 
been treated in some detail because of its interna- 
tional bearings during the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth centuries and its rather close relation to the 
colonial interests of England, and because compre- 
hensive surveys of its various aspects from the his- 
torical point of view are not easily accessible. The 
internal economic life of Spanish America will now 
be reviewed much more briefly. 

The principal pursuits in Spanish America were 
farming, grazing, and mining. The romance of the 
conquest and of the silver fleets has done much to 
give disproportionate prominence to the production 
of gold and silver in popular accounts of Spanish 
colonization. But in those days of small ships and 
costly land transportation it is obvious that the 
bulkier agricultural products could not profitably 
be raised for exportation. 

Yet the vast majority of the population of Spanish 
America lived by fanning and grazing, and the an- 
nual value of the products of the soil in New Spain 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century is esti- 
mated to have been $30,000,000,* or about one-third 
greater than the yield of the mines. 2 Of the dis- 
tinctively farm products, corn or maize was the 
most important in New Spain, although it played 

1 Alaman , Mejico , I . , 103. 

3 Humboldt estimated the annual yield of the mines in New 
Spain at $23,000,000, Ensayo Politico sobre la Nueva Espafta, 
IV., 134. Bancroft's estimate is the same, Mexico, III., 599. 


no part in the export trade. Next came maguey, 
the American agave. The more distinctly colonial 
products of sugar, cacao, vanilla, cochineal, cassia 
formed a large proportion of the cargo of the fleets. 

The climate and soil of America proved favorable 
for European domestic animals horses, horned cat- 
tle, sheep, and swine all multiplied with great rapid- 
ity, and stock-raising became one of the most profit- 
able industries of the soil. It is a familiar fact that 
the cattle were slaughtered for their hides and hoofs 
and that beef was incredibly cheap; but the great 
wealth acquired by stock-raising even under such 
unfavorable circumstances is less familiar and pre- 
sents a glaring contrast to the humble circumstances 
of the farmer in the English colonies. 

The English friar Thomas Gage was amazed at the 
abundance in rural Mexico. Two days' journey 
south of the city there were "many rich townes of 
Spaniards and Indians/' "Here live yeomen upon 
nothing but their farms, who are judged to be worth 
some twenty thousand, some thirty thousand, some 
forty thousand duckats." He found Indians living 
in this region "who traffique to Mexico and about 
the country witth twenty or thirty mules of their 
own, chopping and changing, buying and selling 
commodities, and some of them thought to be worth 
ten or twelve or fifteen thousand duckats." l In 
Guatemala, a great grazing district, he notes the price 
of beef as thirteen pounds and a half for threepence. 

1 Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 85. 


Gage mentions one farmer who owned forty 
thousand head of cattle and a public purveyor of 
meat who bought six thousand head from one 
man at one time for about $2.25 a head. In the 
city of Guatemala he knew, besides, many mer- 
chants worth from twenty thousand to one hundred 
thousand ducats " five were judged of equal wealth 
and generally reported to be worth each of them 
five hundred thousand duckats." l Citations like 
these might be multiplied. Making all necessary 
allowances for travellers' exaggerations or for 
Gage's special desire to magnify in English eyes the 
wealth of New Spain, there still remains enough to 
prove it to have been a country of private fortunes 
not equalled in English America until after the ap- 
plication of steam to industry. 

Of manufacturing beyond the native arts 2 there 
was naturally not very much. Yet Gage reports 
that the cloth made in La Puebla de Los Angeles 
was thought to be as good as that of Segovia, that 
it was sent far and near, and that its production had 
much diminished the importation of Spanish cloths. 
Felt of high quality was also manufactured at Los 
Angeles, and glass, " which was a rarity, " for it was 
not made elsewhere in New Spain.' 

The mines were the source of vast private wealth 

1 Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 125, 126. 

1 On the native arts, cf. Bancroft, Mexico, III., 617 ff. 

* Gage, New Survey of the West Indies, 3 7 . On the cloth factories 
in Peru and the abuses arising from forced labor in them, see 
Ulloa, Noticias Secretas, 275. 


and, as has been shown in another place, of the 
principal revenue of the crown derived from Amer- 
ica. 1 Their number and productiveness steadily 
increased with the advance in methods and the 
additions to the number of mines worked. Hum- 
boldt estimated the average annual production 
from the discovery of America as follows: 


X493- I 5 ............................ 250,000 

1500-1545 ........................... 3,000,000 

1545-1600 .......................... 11,000,000 

1600-1700 ......................... 16,000,000 

1700-1750 .......................... 22,500,000 

1750-1803 ......................... 35>3 000 * 

The total yield from 1493 * 
billion seven hundred and six million seven hun- 
dred thousand pesos. 3 At the beginning of the 
nineteenth century the total annual production ^ie 
calculated to be forty-three million five hundred 
thousand, or about ten times the known produc- 
tion of the rest of the world. 4 

1 See above, p. 241. 

2 Humboldt, Ensayo Politico, III., 316. 
'Ibid., 304. 4 /6td., 286, 288. 



TPHE transmission of the heritage of European 
1 culture to the New World and its inhabitants, 
the great work of the colonial epoch, was the task 
undertaken by the church. From the beginning 
the conversion of the natives to Christianity was 
a dominant motive of the Spanish policy; yet this 
exaltation of religion was not at the sacrifice of the 
political interests of the crown. The church or- 
ganization was a very perfect machine, thoroughly 
under the authority of the king, and a most effective 
agency in sustaining his rule in these distant 
dominions. Pope Julius II., in 1508, granted the 
king of Spain the right of patronage, 1 a concession 
of no great significance at the time when only the 
feeble settlements in Espanola were involved, but of 
enormous importance after the main-land conquests 
were completed. The right was broadly inter- 
preted, and under it the king nominated to the 
pope all the high church dignitaries, prohibited the 

1 Icazbalceta, Obras, V., 217; Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 




circulation of any papal bulls in America without 
his consent, and required every priest and monk 
who proposed to go to the New World to obtain the 
royal license. No church, monastery, or hospital 
could be erected except in accordance with the 
king's ordinances. 1 One -ninth of the tithes was 
covered into the royal treasury, 2 and an even more 
important part of the king's revenue was derived 
from the sale of bulls of the Crusade or indul- 
gences, the purchase of which was practically uni- 
versal. 8 

The work of conversion in Mexico followed upon 
the heels of conquest, indefatigable friars devoting 
every moment to preaching, baptizing, and learning 
the native languages. The old religion withstood 
the assault as little as the old state : the destruction 
of the temples and the idols by the conquerors, the 
death of many of the old ruling caste and of the 
Aztec priesthood relaxed its bonds, and the masses 
were relieved from the dreadful burden of the 
earlier faith. 4 In the Old World the progress from 
actual to vicarious sacrifice for sin had been slow and 
painful through the ages ; in the New it was accom- 
plished within a single generation. The old re- 

1 Icazbalceta, Obras, V., 217. For details see Recopilacion 
de Leyes, lib. I., tit. VI., Del Real Patronazgo. 

2 Usually called the "two-ninths/* because it was two-ninths 
of half the tithes, Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. I., tit. XVI., ley 23. 

8 Cf. Robertson, America, notes 195 and 196, for prices and 
income from the bulls. 

4 Ct Icazbalceta, Obras, V., 155 ff. 


ligion had inculcated a relatively high morality, but 
its dreadful rites overhung the present life like a 
black cloud, and for the future it offered little con- 
solation. The adjustment to Christian morals of 
Indian customs, such as the polygamy of the chiefs, 
presented greater difficulties than mere conversion 
of the people. 

The work of the church was rapidly adapted to 
the new field of labor. In the main it consisted of 
three distinct types the parish work of the Span- 
ish towns, in charge of a cura; the teaching and 
parish work in the Indian villages, or doctrina, in 
charge either of two or more friars or of a cura ; and 
the mission among the wild Indians, in charge of 
misioneros. Every town, Indian as well as Spanish, 
was by law required to have its church, hospital, and 
school for teaching Indian children Spanish and the 
elements of religion. 

As in Spain, the clergy consisted of the regulars, 
or members of the orders the Franciscans, Domin- 
icans, Augustinians, Mercenarians, and the Jesuits 
and of the seculars, of all grades from the arch- 
bishops down to the simple cura. The regulars not 
only had large monasteries in the cities, but were 
scattered up and down through the country in 
little houses containing from two to five inmates. 1 
The doctrinas of the Indian villages might be in 
charge of " religious," or monks, or of curas, but 
not of both together. No monastery could be es- 

1 Cf., e.g., Velasco on Mexico, Description de las Indicts, 194 ff. 


tablished in a pueblo where the doctrina was in 
charge of a cura. 1 

If the work among the wild Indians were success- 
ful they were gathered together in a village called 
a mission, where under the increasing supervision 
of the friars, they were taught the elements of 
letters and trained to peaceful, industrious, and 
religious lives. In fact, every mission was an in- 
dustrial school, where the simple arts were taught 
by the friars, themselves in origin plain Spanish 
peasants. The discipline of the mission was as 
minute as that of a school : the unmarried youth and 
maidens were locked in at night; the day's work 
began and ended with prayers and the catechism; 
each Indian, besides cultivating his own plot of 
land, worked two hours a day*on the farm belonging 
to the village, the produce of which went to the 
support of the church. The mission was recruited 
by inducing the wild Indians to join it, and also by 
kidnapping them. 2 

Spanish America from California and Texas to 
Paraguay and Chili was fringed with such establish- 
ments, the outposts of civilization, where many 
thousands of Indians went through a schooling 
which ended only with their lives. In the process 
of time a mission was slowly transformed into a 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. I., tit. XIII. , ley 2. 

2 Cf . Garrison, Texas, 56; Depons, Voyage, II., 98 ff.; Hum- 
bold t, Travels, III., 40, 100, an; Roscher, Spanish Colonial 
System, u. 


" pueblo de Indies," with its doctrina, and the mission 
frontier was pushed out a little farther. Then the 
white planters began to push in. "The whites, and 
the casts of mixed blood favored by the corregidors 
(provincial administrators of the tribute) establish 
themselves among the Indians. The missions be- 
come Spanish villages, and the natives lose even the 
remembrance of their natural idiom. Such is the 
progress of civilization from the coasts towards the 
interior a slow progress shackled by the passions 
of man, but sure and uniform." 1 

Far different was the advancing frontier in 
English America with its clean sweep, its clash of 
elemental human forces. Our own method pre- 
pared a home for a more advanced civilization and 
a less variously mixed population, and its present 
fruits seem to justify it as the ruthless processes of 
nature are justified; but a comparison of the two 
systems does not warrant self -righteousness on the 
part of the English in America. 

However great the work of the church in civilizing 
the Indians and in mitigating the conquest, one must 
not ignore the fact that, after the first flush of excite- 
ment over the vast field opened before it, there was a 
relaxation of discipline and of morals. Though not 
strange it scandalized European observers. In more 
ways than one the conditions of the Middle Ages 
were revived. The every-day familiarity and age- 
long contact with the Mohammedan life in old Spain 

1 Humboldt, Travels, III., 215. 


had made the Spaniards as a people exceptionally 
tolerant of irregular relations of the sexes. In the 
centuries preceding the discoveries a qualified form 
of plural marriage among the laity was recognized 
by the laws, as were more or less permanent con- 
nections between single men and women, in some 
aspects a survival of the old Roman legalized con- 
cubinage. 1 The celibacy of the clergy in Spain had 
been more an ideal than a fact ; indeed, the extraordi- 
nary efforts in the Middle Ages to enforce it against 
prevalent usage achieved less success in Spain than 
anywhere else in Europe; marriages of the clergy 
were not legal, yet a legal status was accorded their 
children. 2 

Queen Isabella had exerted much influence towards 
the improvement of the mortals of the clergy, but 
when in the remote society of the New World the 
old-time conditions again presented themselves of 
the contact of a superior race with an inferior and 
compliant population, the clergy relapsed. Recruited 
as it was from the common people in Spain, con- 
cubinage became very general among both the friars 
and the curas. 8 Society in general seemed very lax 
and corrupt to foreign observers. Fr6zier remarks 

1 See art. " Barragan," in Escriche, Diccionario Razonado de 
Legislation, Burke, History of Spain, I., 404. 

1 See Lea, Sacerdotal Celibacy, index art. Spain; Prescott, Fer- 
dinand and Isabella, I., Ixviii., II., 397. 

1 See Ulloa, Noticias Secretas, index under concubinas, frailes, 
curas, concubinato; Fn6zier, Voyage, II., 447. Fr6zier excepts 
the bishops and the Jesuits, ibid., 433. 

3 o8 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1522 

that the Spaniards are temperate in wine, but that 
continence has very little hold on them. The old- 
time quasi-legal concubinage was very general, and 
the duties and obligations of the more formal mar- 
riage bond were lightly borne by both husbands 
and wives. 1 The Peruvians, in addition, seem to 
have anticipated our own facilities for divorce and 
remarriage, a condition which scandalized the eigh- 
teenth-century Frenchman quite as much as the 
licentiousness of the clergy and their flocks. 2 

Both the crown and the church were solicitous 
for education in the colonies, and provisions were 
made for its promotion on a far greater scale than 
was possible or even attempted in the English colo- 
nies. The early Franciscan missionaries built a 
school beside each church, 3 and in their teaching 
abundant use was made of signs, drawings, and 
paintings. 4 The native languages were reduced to 
writing, and in a few years Indians were learning to 
read and write. Pedro de Gante, a Flemish lay 
brother and a relative of Charles V., founded and 
conducted in the Indian quarter in Mexico a great 
school attended by over a thousand Indian boys, 
which combined instruction in elementary and 
higher branches, the mechanical and the fine arts. 
In its workshops the boys were taught to be 

1 Fr6zier, Voyage, 446. Cf. also Captain Betagh's Observations 
on Peruvian life in the eighteenth century, Pinkerton, Voyages, 
XIV. J Fr6zier, Voyage, II., 403. 

1 Icazbalceta, Obras, I., 171. 

4 Cf. Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 396-398. 


tailors, carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, and 
painters. 1 

Bishop Zumdrraga wanted a college for Indians in 
each bishopric, and the first institution for higher 
education in the New World was founded in 1535, 
the college of Santa Cruz, in Tlaltelolco, a quarter in 
the Indian part of the city of Mexico. Besides the 
elementary branches, instruction was offered in Latin, 
philosophy, music, Mexican medicine, and the native 
languages. Among the faculty were graduates of the 
University of Paris and such eminent scholars as Ber- 
nardino de Sahagun, the founder of American anthro- 
pology, and Juan de Torquemada, himself a product 
of Mexican education, whose Monarquia Indiana is a 
great storehouse of knowledge of Mexican antiquities 
and history. Many of the graduates of this college 
became alcaldes and governors in the Indian towns. 2 

Nor was the education of the Indian girls neglect- 
ed; and the increasing number of mestizo children 
led to the establishment of a college for them. 8 
From 1536 dates the first royal provision for the 
teaching of the creole Spanish youth. 4 In 1551 
Charles V. founded the universities of Mexico and 
Lima. Chairs of Indian languages were ordered to 
be established in both and in the more important of 
other institutions. 6 A year after the University of 

1 Icazbalceta, Obras, I., 176. 

2 Ibid., 180-182; Alaman, Disertaciones (Havana ed., 1873), 
II., no ff. 

8 Icazbalceta, Obras, I., 182, 189. * Ibid. t 193. 

5 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. I., tit. XXII., leys i and 46. 

3 io SPAIN IN AMERICA [1554 

Mexico opened in 1554, its professor of rhetoric, Dr. 
Cervantes Salazar, a graduate of Osuno, published 
three interesting Latin dialogues, the first describing 
the university, the other two taking up Mexico city 
and its environs, a work after the model of the more 
serious of Erasmus's colloquies. 1 

Not all the institutions of learning founded in 
Mexico in the sixteenth century can be enumerated 
here, but it is not too much to say that in number, 
range of studies, and standard of attainments by the 
officers they surpassed anything existing in Eng- 
lish America until the nineteenth century. Mexi- 
can scholars made distinguished achieyements in 
some branches of science, particularly medicine and 
surgery, but pre-eminently in linguistics, history, 
and anthropology. Dictionaries and grammars of 
the native languages and histories of the Mexican 
institutions are an imposing proof of their scholarly 
devotion and intellectual activity. Conspicuous are 
Toribio de Motolinia's Historia de los Indies de 
Nueva Espana; Duran's Historia de las Indias de 
Nueva Espana; but most important of all Sahagun's 
great work on Mexican life and religion. 2 

The most famous of the earlier Peruvian writers 
were Acosta, the historian, the author of the Natural 
and Civil History of the Indies; the mestizo Gar- 
cilasso de la Vega, who was educated in Spain and 

1 Reissued in 1875 ^th notes and Spanish version by Icaz- 
balceta under the title Mexico en 1554. 

2 Historia General de las Cosas de Nueua Espana. 


wrote of the Inca Empire and of De Soto's expedi- 
tion; Sandoval, the author of the first work on 
Africa and the negro written in America ; * Antonio 
Leon Pinelo, the first American bibliographer, and 
one of the greatest, as well as the indefatigable codifier 
of the legislation of the Indies. Pinelo was born in 
Peru and educated at the Jesuit college in Lima, but 
spent his literary life in Spain. 

Early in the eighteenth century the Lima Univer- 
sity counted nearly two thousand students, and 
numbered about one hundred and eighty doctors in 
theology, civil and canon law, medicine, and the 
arts. The French engineer Fr6zier reports that the 
training was good in scholasticism, but of little ac- 
count in modern scientific subjects. Ulloa a gener- 
ation later reports that "tBe university makes a 
stately appearance without, and its inside is deco- 
rated with suitable ornaments." There were chairs 
of all the sciences, and " some of the professors have, 
notwithstanding the vast distance, gained the ap- 
plause of the literati of Europe. " 2 The coming of 
the Jesuits contributed much to the real educational 
work in America. They established colleges, one of 
which, the little Jesuit college at Juli, on Lake Titi- 
caca, became a seat of genuine learning. 8 

That the Spanish authorities in church and state 
did much to promote education is abundantly evi- 

1 De Instauranda Mthiopum Salute; Historia de Ethiopia; 
Naturaleza, Policia Sacrada i Prof ana, Costumbres, etc. (Madrid, 
1647) . Fr6zier, Voyages, II., 393 ; Ulloa, Voyage, IL, 45. 

* Cf . Markham, Acosta, v. 

3 i2 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1569 

dent, and the modern sciences of anthropology, 
linguistics, geography, and history are profoundly 
indebted to the labors of the early Spanish- American 
scholars and missionaries. It is in these fields that 
their achievements shine, for in these fields they 
could work unhampered by the censorship of the 
press and the Inquisition. In philosophy and in 
politics the mind was less free. The part which 
the Inquisition played in confining intellectual work 
to the well-beaten track of traditional orthodoxy 
makes appropriate a brief consideration of its 
activities in America, about which great miscon- 
ceptions have prevailed. The Holy Office was ex- 
tended to America in 1569.* Earlier the bishops 
had been accorded inquisitorial powers. One oc- 
casionally meets with references to the cruelties 
practised by the Inquisition on the Indians, but 
that charge is without foundation, for the Indians 
were exempted from its jurisdiction as children in 
the faith not capable of heresy. 2 If they offended 
against the rules of the church they were punished, 
like children, with the whip. Foreign heretics, 
Portuguese or Spanish Jews, witches, and bigamists 
principally occupied its attention, but owing to the 
rigid exclusion of all emigrants tainted even with 
ancestral heresy this dreaded court ordinarily had 
little to do compared with its grewsome activities 
in the mother-country. 

1 Recopilacion de Leyes, lib. I., tit. XIX., Icy i. 
*Itid., lib. VI., tit. I., ley 35. 


The arrival of the Inquisition in Mexico in 1574 
was signalized by pouncing on all of Hawkins's men 
who had been put ashore in 1568 that could be got 
hold of. Miles Philips gives a full account of its 
methods. Over fifty of them were condemned to 
be scourged and to serve in the galleys. Three 
"had their judgment to be burnt to ashes." l 
Fr6zier found the commissaries of the Inquisition 
in the villages in remote Chili, and remarks: "They 
busy themselves mainly about the visions of real 
or pretended sorcerers and certain crimes subject 
to the Inquisition, like polygamy, etc. For, as for 
heretics, I am sure they find none, there is so little 
study there." 2 

In its entire history in % Peru the Inquisition 
celebrated twenty-nine autos da fe, the first burn- 
ing taking place in 1581 and the last in 1776. 
Fifty-nine heretics in all suffered at the stake. 8 
The list was shorter in Mexico. In two hundred and 
seventy-seven years, so far as has been learned, 
forty-one were burned as relapsed heretics and 
ninety-nine were burned in effigy. 4 The auto of 
1659 is typical: the criminals were twenty-nine in 
number, twenty-three men and six women; twelve 
for blasphemy, two for bigamy, one for forgery, 
one for perjury, one for avisos de carceles, one for 
failure to complete a penance, one woman for 

1 Miles Philips, in Hakluyt, Voyages* XIV., 209-213. 

2 Fr6zier, Voyages, II., 182. * Markham, Peru, 149. 
4 Icazbalceta, Obras, I., 316. 


suspected Judaism, one for witchcraft, two, a father 
and daughter, for suspected connection with the 
heretics ' ' illuminati. ' ' Seven relapsed were burned, 
five for heresy and two for Judaism. 1 Usually 
only a small proportion were executed as relapsed. 
In 1664 one offender was stripped to the waist and 
then "honeyed" and feathered. 2 In view of the 
witchcraft tragedy in Salem one notices with in- 
terest that executions for witchcraft were compar- 
atively infrequent, the accused usually being sub- 
jected to some milder penalty or acquitted. 3 

With the intellectual awakening in the eighteenth 
century new perils beset these sheltered com- 
munities. The Inquisition redoubled its activity, 
and the catalogues of prohibited or expurgated 
books grew to include, according to Depons, the 
works of five thousand four hundred and twenty 
authors. On the lists were the names of the leading 
thinkers of the century. 4 

The early promoters of education and missions 
did not rely upon the distant European presses 
for the publication of their manuals. The printing- 
press was introduced into the New World probably 
as early as 1536, and it seems likely that the first 
book, an elementary Christian doctrine, called 
La Escala Espiritual (the ladder of the spirit), was 

1 Icazbalceta, Obras, I., 296. ' Ibid., 300. 

1 Gage gives an interesting account of his experience with a 
witch, New Survey of the West Indies, 167. 

4 Depons, Voyage, II., 74 ff. Cf. Alaman, Mejico, I., 121. 


issued in 1537. No copy of it, however, is known 
to exist. 1 Seven different printers plied their craft 
in New Spain in the sixteenth century. 2 Among 
the notable issues of these presses, besides the 
religious works and church service books, were 
dictionaries and grammars of the Mexican lan- 
guages; Puga's Cedulario in 1563, a compilation of 
royal ordinances; Farfdn's Tractado de Medicina. 
In 1605 appeared the first text-book published in 
America for instruction in Latin, a manual of 
poetics with illustrative examples from heathen and 
Christian poets. 8 

Mexico was in a sense the mother - country of 
the Philippines, and the first general history and 
description of the islands i$ distinction from mis- 
sionary narratives, Antonio de Morga's Sucesos 
de las Islas Philipinas, was printed in Mexico in 
1609. Notwithstanding the efforts of the church 
and of missionaries in behalf of education it is not 
to be supposed that elementary education was any- 
thing like so generally diffused in the later days as 
in the English colonies, though Spanish America 
would have compared favorably with old Spain. 
If we compare Spanish America with the United 
States a hundred years ago, we must recognize 
that while in the north there was a sounder body 
politic, a purer social life, and a more general dis- 
semination of elementary education, yet in Spanish 

* Icazbalceta, Obras, I., 22. 


America there were both vastly greater wealth and 
greater poverty, more imposing monuments of 
civilization, such as public buildings, institutions of 
learning, and hospitals, more populous and richer 
cities, a higher attainment in certain branches of 
science. No one can read Humboldt's account of 
the city of Mexico and its establishments for the 
promotion of science and the fine arts without 
realizing that, whatever may be the superiorities 
of the United States over Mexico in these respects 
they have been mostly the gains of the age of steam. 

During the first half-century after the applica- 
tion of steam to transportation Mexico weltered in 
domestic turmoils arising out of the crash of the 
old regime. If the rule of Spain could have lasted 
half a century longer, being progressively liberalized 
as it was during the reign of Charles III. ; if a succes- 
sion of such viceroys as Revilla Gigedo, in Mexico, and 
De Croix and De Taboada y Lemos, in Peru, could 
have borne sway in America until railroads could have 
been built, intercolonial intercourse ramified, and a 
distinctly Spanish-American spirit developed then 
a great Spanish-American federal state might pos- 
sibly have been created, capable of self-defence 
against Europe and inviting co-operation rather 
than aggression from the neighbor in the north. 

As it was, the English colonies, in the beginning 
more detached than the Spanish, yet contiguous, so 
that intercourse was easy, and enjoying the ad- 
vantage of occupying a relatively small area, were 


able to join forces in the War for Independence. 
The Union became cemented by the acquisition 
first of half and then of the whole great central 
valley, an essential unit geographical^, whose 
earlier lines of communication ran north and south, 
thus binding the two diverging sections by deep- 
lying ties. Then at just the right period came the 
steam-boat and the railroad to multiply the connect- 
ing links and unloose the great forces of economic 
interest and national pride to counteract the rising 
forces of disruption. 

The Spanish colonies were more closely united 
administratively than the English, but at the time 
of their independence the physical and geographical 
obstacles to forming a United States of Spanish 
America were absolutely iifsuperable. Hence they 
tended to break up along lines roughly corresponding 
to the old administrative subdivisions. The Revo- 
lution consequently gave rise to a number of weak 
states whose peaceful progress under a clash of 
interests unknown in English America was impos- 
sible. The Spanish-American peoples have lacked 
the inspiration of united action, and their resources 
and powers have been frittered away in intestine 
quarrels. If the formidable apparition of the ever- 
extending United States draws them together for 
mutual defence; if the construction of railroads 
sufficiently overcomes the great geographical im- 
pediments to unity; if the Monroe Doctrine shall 
serve the temporary purpose of protecting them 

3 i8 SPAIN IN AMERICA [1904 

from foreign attack during this period of mutual 
approach there may yet arise a great Spanish- 
American federal state, the counterpart of the 
United States, to become a wholesome check on 
its indefinite absorption of alien lands and peoples 
to the south, and the home of a great people which 
with the infusion of new blood will free itself from 
the evils of its earlier life while preserving the best 
of the heritage from Spain. 

Society in Spanish America combines a great 
variety of more widely contrasting elements than are 
to be found in English America. In the old days, 
Europeans, Americans of European ancestry, African 
negroes, the descendants of the native stocks, all 
lived together as rulers and ruled, masters and 
slaves, "higher" and "lower" races, not entirely 
detached, not yet fused, rather a series of social 
layers, partly distinct and partly merged, with 
antagonisms and jealousies. Independence has not 
yet allayed those jealousies, but the continual rein- 
forcement of the European stock by industrious 
immigrants from Spain, Italy, and Germany, rel- 
atively free from race and color prejudices, will in 
time give greater stability to social conditions, raise 
the average of intelligence, increase the production 
of wealth, and advance the progress of civilization, 
carrying on and not undoing the work of Spain. 
The Spanish language will still be the common 
tongue of the millions who live between the Rio 
Grande del Norte and the Straits of Magellan, and, 


with the advance in knowledge, national pride in 
the achievements of the Spaniards who explored a 
hemisphere and ineffaceably stamped upon its two 
continents their language and their religion will 
become an abiding inspiration. 



THE most convenient guide to the sources and, litera- 
ture of the discoveries is in J. N. Larned, Literature of 
American History, a Bibliographical Guide (1902), 50-68. 
Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America (8 
vols., 1888-1889), II., contains more titles, but comes down 
only to 1886. The bibliographical notes appended to some 
of the chapters in H. H. Bancroft, History of Central Amer- 
ica and History of Mexico (3 vols., 1882), are very service- 
able. Brief but exact references are provided in Channing 
and Hart, Guide to the Study of American History (1896), pp. 
81-87, 92-94. In Winsor, America, I., i.-xviii., will be found 
an interesting historical sketch of the earlier and of the 
more elaborate bibliographies. The literature of the later 
history of the Spanish colonies is listed in detail in the 
notes to the appropriate chapters in Winsor, VIII. One 
can best keep abreast of the current European critical 
literature in this field by following the reviews published in 
Petermann's Mitteilungen aus Justus Perthes* Geographischer 
Anstalt; and in the two annuals: H. Wagner, Geographisches 
Jahrbuch; E. Berner, Jahresbericht der Geschichtswissen- 


An excellent general account of the progress of geograph- 
ical knowledge and of the discoveries will be found in John 
Piske, Discovery of America (2 vols., 1892). The second 
volume of Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of 


i45o] AUTHORITIES 3*1 

America, embraces the half -century extending from the 
first voyage of Columbus to the explorations of De Soto and 
Coronado; the critical chapters and the notes take account 
of a great mass of literature relating to the subject. 

For the special student, Alexander von Humboldt, Kri- 
tische Untersuchungen uber die historische Entwickelung der 
geographischen Kenntnisse von der neuen Welt, etc. (Ideler's 
translation from French to German, 3 vols., 1852), is still 
very valuable. The German translation is preferable to 
the French original, as it is provided with a complete index. 
K. Kretschmer, Die Entdeckung Amerikas (i vol., with 
atlas, 1892), is a work of critical scholarship which registers 
the present state of knowledge of the history of geography. 
Pre-eminent among the recent general works relating to the 
discoveries for critical scholarship and wide research is H. 
Harrisse, Discovery of North America: a Critical, Document" 
ary, and Historic Investigation, with an Essay on the Early 
Cartography of the New World (1892). 

An earlier study of somewhat similar scope and still val- 
uable is J. G. Kohl, A History of the Discovery of the East 
Coast of North America, in vol. I. of the Documentary His- 
tory of the State of Maine (1869). 

Among the general works, Oskar Peschel, Geschichte des 
Zeitalters der Entdeckungen (26. ed., 1877), is particularly 
serviceable to the student. The narrative is clear and 
accurate and the foot-notes are a running guide to the 
primary sources. Sophus Ruge, Geschichte des Zeitalters 
der Entdeckungen (1881), is an authoritative general ac- 
count based on the sources and richly illustrated with por- 
traits and maps. P. Gaffarel, Histoire de la Decouverte de 
VAmerique, depuis les Origines jusqu'a la mort de Christophc 
Cohmb (2 vols., 1892), devotes his second volume to the 
career of Columbus and to the discoveries up to his death. 
It is a work of sound scholarship. S. Gtinther, Das Zeitalter 
der Entdeckungen ( 1 90 1 ) , is a very lucid short account, which 
admirably summarizes the present state of knowledge. 
The same is to be said of Carlo Errera, UEpoca delle Grandi 
Scoperte Geografiche (1902), which has the additional merit 


of a full index and well-selected maps and portraits. Luigi 
Hugues, Cronologia delle Scoperte e delle Esplorazioni Geo- 
grafiche daWanno 1492 a Tutto il Secolo XIX. ( 1 903) , is a very 
scholarly compendium, embodying the latest knowledge in 
the form of annals. A similar conspectus with bibliograph- 
ical notes is given in H. H. Bancroft, Central America, I. 
(1883), 68-152, coming down to 1540. The most impor- 
tant repository of the facts of the first half -century of the 
Spanish discoveries is Antonio de Herrera, Historia Gen- 
eral de los Hechos de los Castellanos en las Islas y Tierra 
Firme del Mar Oceano (1728-1730). This work was based 
on official documents and reports of explorers, and in regard 
to the earlier period on the Historia de las Indias of Las 
Casas. The index is very complete. The English transla- 
tion (incomplete) by John Stevens is not trustworthy. 
An epitome of Herrera is supplied in vol. I. of T. Southey, 
Chronological History of the West Indies (1827). 


The principal collection of documents relating to the 
discoveries of the Portuguese is J. Ramos-Coelho, Alguns 
Documentos do Archivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, etc. 
(1892) ; it covers the period 1416 to 1529. For the study of 
the Columbian and later Spanish voyages a new epoch was 
begun by the publication of M. F. Navarrete, Coleccion de 
los Viages y Descubrimientos, etc. (5 vols., 1825-1837). 
Later Spanish collections more comprehensive but by no 
means so well edited as Navarrete are : Coleccion de Docu- 
mentos Ineditos para la Historia de Espana (112 vols., 1842- 
1895). The material relating to America in the first no 
vols. is indexed by G. P. Winship in the Boston Public 
Library Bulletin, October, 1894. Pacheco and Cardenas, 
Coleccion de Documentos Ineditos Relatives al Descubrimiento, 
Conquista y Colonization de las Possessiones Espanolas en 
America y Occeania, etc. (42 vols., 1864-1884); vol. 
XXXIII. contains a chronological table of contents. This 
collection is continued under the title Coleccion de Docu- 

i4so] AUTHORITIES 323 

mentos Ineditos de Ultramar. Segunda serie (i x vols., 1885- 
1898), in which the contents are arranged topically. The 
most notable of recent documentary publications is that 
published by the Italian government, Raccoltadi Documents 
e Studi (6 parts in 14 vols., 1892-1896). Further details 
as to the contents of these collections and as to which of 
the documents are accessible in English translations will 
be found in Lamed, Literature of American History. 

Many interesting narratives of early voyages to America 
will be found in Hakluyt, Principall Navigations, Voiages 
and Discoveries of the English Nation (1589 and later eds.). 
A new edition is in process of publication. Many of the 
most important of the narrative sources for the history 
of the discoveries have been published in English transla- 
tions under competent editors by the Hakluyt Society, 
London. For further details, see Lamed, under index 
headings, "Eden," "Hakluyt," "Kerr," "Pinkerton," and 
"Purchas." Selected extracts from the early narratives 
are given in A. B. Hart, American History Told by Con- 
temporaries (4 vols., 1897-1900), I., chaps, i.-v. 


The earliest lives of Columbus are those by his fellow- 
townsmen Antonio Gallo, Bartolomeo Senarega, and Agos- 
tino Giustiniano, of which the first was largely copied by 
the other two. Their lives are most easily accessible in 
the original Latin and in English translation in the first 
volume of Thacher, Christopher Columbus (1903). Next in 
order of time comes the life by his son Ferdinand, Historie 
del S. D. Fernando Colombo; nelle quali s'ha particolare 
e vera relatione della vita, e de fatti dell Ammiraglio D. 
Christoforo Colombo, suo padre, etc. (1571 and later). The 
earlier part, prior to 1492, is of uncertain value and au- 
thenticity. From 1492 on it is founded on the journals 
and letters of Columbus. The Spanish original is no longer 
extant. An English translation was prepared for Churchill, 
Voyages ( 1 744-1 746) , and is reprinted in Pinkerton, Voyages 


(1808-1814). Bartolom6 de Las Casas, Historia de las Indias 
(5 vols., 1875-1876), may be mentioned appropriately with 
the lives of Columbus, because through Herrera's extensive 
use of it it has constituted with Ferdinand's Historie the 
principal source from which later biographers drew until 
the publication of Navarrete's Viages. Las Casas had 
papers of Columbus and other explorers which have since 
been lost. He brings his history down to 1521. 

The most famous of the biographies of Columbus is 
Washington Irving, Life and Voyages of Christopher Colum- 
bus (1828-1831), based on Navarrete's documents, Ferdi- 
nand's Historic, Las Casas, and Peter Martyr's Decades. 
His charm of style, his disposition to ignore Columbus's 
faults, and an occasional imaginative coloring to important 
scenes have unduly discredited Irving with certain modern 
scholars. No subsequent life, however, with the exception 
of Harrisse's, has been more conscientiously based on the 
primary sources for its narrative of facts. Henry Harrisse, 
in his Christophe Colomb ( 2 vols. , 1 884) , greatly advanced Co- 
lumbian studies by his publication of new documents and 
penetrating criticism of all sources of information. His 
work, however, is not so much a narrative of the life of 
Columbus as a series of "studies in historical criticism," as 
he entitles it. The next elaborate study of Columbus's life 
was that of Jos6 Maria Asensio, Cristoval Colon, su Vida, 
sus Viajes, sus Descubrimientos (2 vols., 1891). It is pro- 
nounced by Markham to be the best and most complete 
of the biographies. 

The latest study of the discoverer's career is John Boyd 
Thacher, Christopher Columbus (3 vols., 1903-1904), in 
which many of the most important primary sources are 
reprinted with English translations, photographic fac- 
similes, etc. Special attention is given to the bibliog- 
raphy of Columbus's own writings, to supposed por- 
traits, his autographs, and to the ultimate fate of his re- 
mains. Justin Winsor, Christopher Columbus (1892), puts 
before the reader the results of the investigations of Har- 
risse and other specialists touching the various aspects of 

i4$o] AUTHORITIES 325 

Columbus's career and the additions to geographical knowl- 
edge consequent to his discoveries. The work is richly 

Of the shorter lives in English the best by far is Clements 
R. Markham, Life of Christopher Columbus (1892). It is 
clear and accurate and is based on first-hand study of the 
sources. After enjoying the exceptional advantage of 
editing the writings of Columbus for the Raccolta Colom- 
biana, Cesare de Lollis prepared his Vita di Cristoforo 
Colombo narrata secondo gli ultimi documenti (jd ed., 1895). 
It is not only a work of original scholarship, but is written 
with literary skill and feeling. The existing state of ex- 
pert knowledge and opinion in regard to Columbus is pre- 
sented in a clear and attractive fashion by Sophus Ruge, 
Columbus (ad ed., 1902). A bibliography and additional 
critical notes add to the value of the text. Further details 
as to the biographies of Columbus may be found in Harrisse, 
Winsor, Markham, and in Larned. 


The principal source for the voyages of Columbus are his 
own writings so far as they have been preserved intact, in 
epitome, or embedded in historical narratives like the 
Historic of his son Ferdinand or the Historia de las India* 
of Las Casas. The original texts of all the writings of 
Columbus that could be identified were published by Lollis 
in the Raccolta Colombiana (1892-1896). The most im- 
portant of these writings were edited by Navarrete, in whose 
collection Las Casas' abridgment of the journal of the first 
voyage was first published. Translations of this have 
been published by Kettel, Markham, and Thacher. R. H. 
Major, Select Letters of Columbus (2d ed. 1890), contains the 
longer communications descriptive of his voyages. These, 
as well as a large number of his private letters, will be found 
in Thacher. Another translation of a considerable body of 
Columbus's private letters with some other documents was 
prepared by Dr. Jos6 Ignacio Rodriguez and published by 


the American Historical Association in its Report for 1894. 
The original texts of many of these private letters first saw 
the light in La Duquesa de Berwick y de Alba, Autografos de 
Cristobal Colon (1892). A new volume of these papers ap- 
peared in 1902, entitled Nuevos Autografos de Cristobal 
Colon y Relaciones de Ultramar. 

Columbus's journal of the second voyage is not extant, 
but Lollis tentatively reconstructed its outlines by printing 
in parallel columns in the Raccolta the narratives in Las 
Casas and in the Historie of Ferdinand Columbus, both of 
which closely follow the original, but are in the main inde- 
pendently derived from it. Of these two accounts only Fer- 
dinand's is accessible in English, except in so far as Stevens's 
translation of Herrera represents the Las Casas narrative. 

An important account of the first part of the second 
voyage is that of Dr. Chanca, a physician on board, trans- 
lated by Major and by Thacher. Chanca's narrative fell 
into the hands of Bernaldez, who embodied it in the one 
hundred and nineteenth and one hundred and twentieth 
chapters of his Historia de los Reyes Catolicos (unprinted 
till 1878), adding other information in regard to the later 
period of the expedition which he derived from Columbus 
himself. The chapters (cxviii.-cxxxi.) in Bernaldez have 
been translated into English and were published by the 
Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 3d series, vol. 
VIII. (1838). 

For the other accounts derived from participants in the 
voyage, see H. Harrisse, Christophe Colomb, and Thacher. 
Of the third voyage outward Columbus gave an account in 
a letter to the king and queen, which is translated in Major. 
After his return in chains he wrote a letter to the former 
nurse of Prince Juan, dwelling upon his services and his 
misfortunes; translations of this letter are given by Major 
and Thacher. More detailed and much more satisfactory 
than these letters are the narratives of Las Casas and 
Ferdinand Columbus based on Columbus's own journal of 
the voyage. The Las Casas account appears unabridged 
in English for the first time in Thacher. 


Las Casas and the Historic of Ferdinand Columbus are 
also of the first importance for the fourth voyage. We have 
in addition a letter of Columbus's describing its incidents, 
which is extant only in an Italian translation, of which 
Thacher reprints a f ac-simile. English translations will be 
found in Major and Thacher. Other accounts of parts of 
the voyage are the Porras and Mendez narratives (in Eng- 
lish in Thacher). 

The most important source for the history of the diffu- 
sion of knowledge of the New World is Guglielmo Berchet, 
Fonti Italiani per la Storia delta Scoperta del Nuovo Mondo. 
/. Carteggi diplomatici. II. Narrazioni sincrone (Raccolta 
Colombiana, pt. iii., vols., I., II., 1893). The first of these 
volumes contains every reference to the discovery of the 
New World in Italian diplomatic correspondence down to 
1 536 ; in the second are all the passages in books and manu- 
scripts by Italian writers down to 1550 which refer to Col- 
umbus or the discovery of America, excepting Peter Mar- 
tyr's Decades. 

In the absence of the periodical press in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries its place was in part supplied by the 
literary correspondent. The most noted of these corre- 
spondents in Spain was Peter Martyr, of Anghiera, in Italy, 
near Milan, who lived in Spain from 1488 to 1526, part of 
the time as apostolic protonotary at the court of Castile. 
In after life he collected his letters for publication, Opus 
Epistolarum (1530). The passages in the earlier ones re- 
lating to Columbus are excerpted by Thacher and trans- 
lated into English. Whether they were originally written 
at the dates ascribed to them and in the exact form in 
which they were published is open to grave doubt. If 
certainty as to the date at which Peter Martyr put such 
and such a fact on record is required, recourse must be 
had to his narratives of the history of the discoveries, also 
written in the form of letters to various correspondents. 
So much of these as subsequently formed the first seven 
books of his Decades came into the hands of the Venetian 
Angelo Trivigiane, who translated them into Italian, They 


were subsequently printed in Venice as Libretto de Tutta la 
Navigatione de Re de Spagna de le hole et Terreni Novamente 
Trovati (1504). Of this earliest history of America but one 
printed copy has survived to the present day. Thacher gives 
a f ac-simile and also a translation of the text both for the 
first time. The Latin original of the first Decade was first 
published in 1511. As finally completed, Peter Martyr's 
Decades constitute, as has been indicated, the first history 
of the New World. The narrative is brought down through 
the conquest of Mexico. The only complete edition is 
that edited by Hakluyt in 1587. The first three Decades 
were translated by Richard Eden, 1555, and the last five 
by Michael Lok. This English version is accessible in 
Hakluyt, Voyages, V. (ed. 1812). Peter Martyr utilized 
materials some of which are no longer extant, interviewed 
explorers and conquerors, and as a member in later life of 
the Council of the Indies had extraordinary facilities for 
getting at the truth. His history is an invaluable repository 
of facts relating to the explorations, and to the customs of 
the natives. 

The next historian in order of time, and one whose wide 
acquaintance and extensive experience in the New World 
were supplemented by moderation of judgment, was 
Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valde, Historia General 
y Natural de las Indias (first complete ed., 4 vols., 1851- 


For the Cabot literature, G. P. Winship, Cabot Bib- 
liography (1900), is a remarkably complete and thor- 
oughly critical guide. The Cabot documentary material 
in the original and in English translation is most accessible 
in G. E. Weare, Cabot's Discovery of North America (1897). 
The same material is extracted in C. R. Beazley, John and 
Sebastian Cabot (1898). The contributions of H. Harrisse 
to the Cabot question are comparable to what he has done 
to elucidate the life of Columbus. His Jean et Stbastien 
Cabot (1882) greatly advanced knowledge of the material 

i45o] AUTHORITIES 329 

and its critical interpretation. His later John Cabot the 
Discoverer of North America and Sebastian His Son, etc. 
(1896), is invaluable to the student of Cabot problems, 
which have also received penetrating and critical treatment 
in his Discovery of North America ^(1892), and his most re- 
cent elaborate work, Decouverte et Evolution Cartographique 
de Terre-Neuve (1900). The modern scientific study of the 
Cabot problem began with Richard Biddle, Memoir of 
Sebastian Cabot (1831), and the best critical survey of the 
question in English before the publication of Harrisse's 
work was Charles Deane's monograph, in Winsor, Narrative 
and Critical History, III. The principal Cabot documents 
are also to be found in translation in Markham, The Journal 
of Christopher Columbus (1893). 

The documents relating to the Corte - Real voyages 
and the critical discussion of them will be found in Har- 
risse, Les Corte -Real et leur Voyages au Nouveau-Monde 
(1883). Harrisse makes a later survey of the same sub- 
ject in his Discovery of North America. The documents 
are translated in C. R. Markham, Journal of Columbus 

The documentary material on the voyage of Vasco da 
Gama has been critically edited by F. Hummereich, Vasco 
da Gama und die Entdeckung des Seeweges nach Ostindien 
(1898). The original material has been translated into 
English, with critical introduction and notes by E. G. 
Ravenstein, A Journal of the First Voyage of Vasco da 
Gama, 1497-1499 (1898). The first great narrative his- 
tory of the Portuguese discoveries was Joao de Barros, 
Decadas da Asia (1553, best ed., 24 vols., 1778-1788.) Bar- 
ros's work, like that of Herrera, was founded upon docu- 
ments and contemporary narratives. Barros has never 
been translated into English, but his history down to 
1502 is accessible in a German version by E. Feust 

An important contemporary account of Cabral's discov- 
ery of Brazil is that by Pero Vas de Caminha in Alguns 
Documentor da Torre do Tombo, 108. Chapter Ixiv, of the 


Paesi Novamente Retrovati (1507, reprinted in the Raccolta 
Colombiana, pt. iii.) contains the journal of a Portuguese 
sailor; and another account by the ship's surgeon, Maestre 
Juan, is noted by Peschel as in F. A. de Varnhagen, Historia 
Geral do Brazil, I., 423. 

For the voyages of Pinzon and Niflo the earliest account 
is that of Peter Martyr in the Libretto (in English in Thach- 
er, Columbus, II,). These accounts reappear substantially 
unchanged in Peter Martyr's Decades. Hojeda's own tes- 
timony in regard to his voyage of 1499 and Navarrete's 
account are translated by Markham, Letters of Amerigo 
Vespucci (1894). Vespucci's narrative of his first voyage 
dated by himself 1497 is now regarded as an account 
of this voyage. The fullest account in English of these 
early secondary voyages is that of Irving, Voyages of 
the Companions of Columbus (1831), based on Navarrete 
and Las Casas; the volume is usually published with his 
Life of Columbus. E. Channing has given a brief critical 
account in Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, II., 
chap. iii. 


A complete bibliography of the Vespucci question and of 
the name America was prepared by G. Fumagalli for G. 
Uzielli's new edition of A. M. Bandini, Vita di Amerigo Ves- 
pucci (1893). The accepted and the questioned Vespucci 
letters are critically edited and interpreted by Francisco 
Adolpho de Varnhagen, Amerigo Vespucci: son Caractere, 
ses Ecrits, sa Vie et ses Navigations (1865). Critical opinion, 
however, is not agreed in entirely rejecting some of the 
narratives that Varnhagen declared spurious. The best 
modern critical discussion of the Vespucci question is that 
by Hugues, in the Raccolta Colombiana. The earliest de- 
tailed hostile criticism of Vespucci's narrative of his first 
voyage was written by Las Casas. It became generally 
accessible in Herrera's incorporation of its substance in his 
history and deeply influenced opinion, although its real au- 

i45ol AUTHORITIES 331 

thor was unknown until modern times. Las Casas' dis- 
cussion is translated in Markham, Letters of Amerigo Ves- 
pucci (1894), which contains in translation the two accepted 
narratives of Vespucci. Markham's introduction is adverse 
to Vespucci's claims. Quaritch has published a conven- 
ient f ac-simile reprint of the original edition of the Soderini 
letter published in Florence in 1505-1506 as The First Four 
Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci (1893). The English transla- 
tion is more exact than Markham's. Of importance in the 
history of the Vespucci controversy are Humboldt, Unter- 
suchungen (see index), and Santarem, Recherches Histo- 
riques, etc. (1842), accessible in English in E. V. Childe's 
translation (1850). 

An excellent resume of the diffusion of the name America 
is L. Hugues, La Vicende del Nome "America" (1898). 
Kretschmer's chapter, " Der Name des Neuen Weltteils," in 
his Entdeckung A merikas, also traces the history of the name. 
Jules Marcou's arguments for a native origin of the name 
arc fully presented in his Nouvelles Recherches sur VOrigine 
du Now, d'Amerique (1888). His view has won no ad- 
herents from among scholars of rank. 


The principal source for the Pinzon-Solis voyage of 1508 
is Peter Martyr, Decades, II., lib. VII. 

The sources for the attempts of Hojeda and Nicuesa to 
colonize the main-land are the cedula and the report of 
Colmenares, in Navarrete, Viages, III., 116, 386; the 
narrative of Las Casas, which he based upon a history in 
manuscript by one Cristobal de la Tovilla, entitled La 
Barbanrica (Las Casas, III., 289) ; Peter Martyr, Decades, II., 
lib. L-IIL; and Oviedo, Historia General, book XXVII. 
Detailed modern narratives in Washington Irving, Com- 
panions of Columbus; H. H. Bancroft, History of Central 
America, I.; and Arthur Helps, Spanish Conquest in 
America, I. 

Peter Martyr's account of Balboa and the discovery of 


the Pacific is based on the contemporary reports of Col- 
menares and Caicedo and the letters of Balboa and others 
from the isthmus. Navarrete (III., 358, 375) prints two 
letters of Balboa to the king. Irving's account of Balboa, in 
his Companions of Columbus, is based on the sources, as is 
that of Helps, Spanish Conquest in America. The fullest 
recent narrative is that of H. H. Bancroft, Central America, 
I. Peter Martyr's account of the Solis voyage to the Rio 
de la Plata region is based on the reports of the sur- 

The original materials for Magellan's voyage occupy 
vol. IV. of Navarrete. The narratives are translated 
in Lord Stanley, The First Voyage Round the World (1874). 
The best modern account is F. H. H. Guillemard, Life of 
Ferdinand Magellan and the First Circumnavigation of the 
Globe (1891). For translations of the diplomatic negotia- 
tions between Spain and Portugal and of the account of the 
voyage by Maximilianus Transylvanus, see E. H. Blair and 
J. A. Robertson, The Philippine Islands, I. (1903). 


The primary sources for the Spanish explorations of the 
North-American coast and interior are indicated in the 
foot-notes to the text, see above, chaps, x.-xii. The fol- 
lowing paragraphs are merely supplementary to that 
material. The best of the earlier accounts of the Spanish 
explorations and attempted colonization of North America 
is A. G. Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico para la Historia General de 
la Florida, etc. (1723), arranged in the form of annals cov- 
ering the years 1512-1722. It was based in part on un- 
published documents. 

Among the modern critical accounts of the Spanish 
explorations of the Atlantic coast and of such Portuguese 
ones as occurred later than those mentioned in the text of 
the present work, Harrisse's Discovery of North America is 
pre-eminent. Next would be placed J. G. Shea's " Ancient 
Florida, ' ' in Winsor, Narrative and Critical History , 1 1 . The 


latest study of the Spaniards in North America is W. 
Lowery, Spanish Settlements in North America (1901), a 
work of sound scholarship based on the sources. Lowery's 
references also offer a useful clew to the monographic lit- 
erature of his subject. Shea has based his account of 
Ayllon's attempted colony (Winsor, II.) on unpublished 

For the voyage of Estevan Gomez, Harrisse published a 
previously unedited contemporary account by the Spanish 
geographer De Santa Cruz. Peter Martyr's account, too, is 

The best modern discussions of the Verrazano question 
are those of Hugues in the Raccolta and Harrisse in the 
Discovery of North America. Noteworthy, too, is K. Lechner, 
in the Globus ( 1 890) . The history of the discussion over the 
authenticity of Verrazano's voyage is narrated by George 
Dexter, in Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, IV. , chap. i. 
Of the two texts of the Verrazano narrative the one first 
known was first published by Ramusio, Navigationi, 1556, 
and this text is the one which Hakluyt translated. The 
other text was first published by the New York Historical 
Society in 1841, accompanied by an English translation 
by Dr. J. G. Cogswell. A critical edition of this second text 
was included in the Raccolta Colombiana. H. C. Murphy's 
monograph, The Voyage of Verrazzano (1875), reprints Dr. 
Cogswell's translation of the narrative, and also translations 
from Portuguese documents relating to Verrazano, and 
from Spanish documents relating to the French pirate Jean 

The original of the narrative of the first Cartier voyage 
was tepublished by Tross in Paris (1867); that of the sec- 
ond has survived in only one copy which was critically 
edited by D'Avezac in 1863. These early French ventures 
are vividly sketched in Francis Parkman, Pioneers of 
France in the New World (1865 an d later). 

By the side of Parkman's brilliant narrative of the clash 
between the French and Spaniards in Florida Shea's equally 
learned but less highly colored essay deserves to stand in 


the front rank of the secondary accounts. Paul Gaffarel, 
LaFhride Francaise (1875), reprints the contemporary nar- 
ratives. The primary sources are indicated in the foot* 
notes to chap. xii. 


The primary sources for De Soto's expedition will be found 
in the foot-notes to chap. xi. It is to be remarked in ad- 
dition that Oviedo's account incorporates material from 
the diary of Rodrigo Ranjel (see his Historia General, I., 
560), not elsewhere preserved. Buckingham Smith's trans- 
lation of the narratives of the Gentleman of Elvas and 
of Biedma, together with an English translation of the 
Ranjel narrative, will be found in E. G. Bourne, Narratives 
of Hernando de Soto (1904). The Spanish text of the 
Biedma narrative is in B. Smith, Documentos para la His- 
toria de la Florida (1857). W. Lowery and J. G. Shea in 
Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, II., are excellent 
guides to the interpretation of the route and to the literature 
relating to it. 

In regard to the literature of southwestern exploration, 
G. P. Winship, Bibliography of the Coronado Expedition, is a 
very valuable guide. It was appended to his edition of all 
the Coronado documents in English translation, including 
the original Spanish text, not previously printed, of Casta- 
neda's narrative, published by the United States Bureau 
of Ethnology, Fourteenth A nnual Report (1896). The trans- 
lations have been revised in G. P. Winship, Journey of 
Coronado (1904). 

The wanderings of Cabe9a de Vaca and the reconnois- 
sance of Friar Marcos have been very carefully studied 
on the ground by A. F. Bandelier, Contributions to the 
History of the Southwestern Portion of the United States 
(1890). The chapters in Lowery 's Spanish Settlements 
are furnished with abundant references to the literature. 
The whole field of southwestern exploration is covered in 
detail in H. H. Bancroft, History of Mexico (1883), History 

i45o] AUTHORITIES 335 

of the North Mexican States (1884), History of California, 
I. (1884), and History of Arizona and New Mexico (1889). 


In addition to the two series of Documentos Ineditos de 
las Indias and its continuation the Documentos de Ultra- 
mar, the Recopilacion de Leyes de los Reynos de las Indias 
(lasted. 1841) is indispensable to an understanding of the 
Spanish system. The Politica Indiana of Juan de Solorzano 
Pereira (1703) is an elaborate treatise on colonial political 
and religious institutions; it is very useful but trying, owing 
to the author's rambling and discursive method. Other 
valuable contemporary descriptions of Spanish colonial 
organization are Juan Lopez de Velasco, Geografia y 
Descripcion Universal de las Indias (1574, first published, 
1894); and Antonio de Herrera, Descripcion de las Indias 
Occidentals (1615). Bernard Moses, The Establishment 
of Spanish Rule in America (1898), is a serviceable ex- 
position of the governmental system. R. G. Watson, 
Spanish and Portuguese South America (1884), is the 
best general narrative of the history of colonial South 
America. Somewhat more inclusive in scope, with a use- 
ful bibliography, is A. Zimmermann, Die Kolonialpolitik 
Portugals und Spaniens (1896). 

A. Fabi6, Ens ay o Historico de la Legislacion Espanola en 
sus Estados de Ultramar (1896), is a compendious survey 
of the colonial legislation for the first half -century. Among 
the general accounts of the Spanish colonial system the fol- 
lowing may be mentioned as particularly serviceable. As 
an introduction, the fifth chapter of H. H. Bancroft, His- 
tory of Central America, I.; W. Roscher, The Spanish 
Colonial System (Bourne's ed., 1904); Konrad Habler, 
The Colonial Kingdom of Spain, in H. Helmolt, History of 
the World, I.; and E. Armstrong, The Emperor Charles 
V. t II., 90-113. 

There is much that is still valuable in W. Robertson, His- 
tory of America, book VIII. (1777). Of the accounts of the 


system as it appeared in individual colonies, Alexander von 
Humboldt, Personal Narrative of Travels (1818-1829), is 
pre-eminent for northeastern South America and Cuba, 
and his Political Essay on New Spain (1811) for Mexico. 
One of the best pictures of Spanish colonial life is that 
in F. Depons, Voyage to the Eastern Part of Terra-Firma 
(1806) ; compare also R. M. Baralt's description of Venezuela 
at the end of the eighteenth century in his Resumen de 
la Historia Antigua de Venezuela (1841). Conditions in 
New Granada and Peru are described by Jorge Juan and 
Antonio de Ulloa, Voyage to South America (1758 and later). 
The dark side of life in Peru and the corruption of political 
and social life were set forth in strong colors in their con- 
fidential report to the king, published eventually as Natidas 
Secretas de America (1826). Much valuable information 
as to conditions in Peru early in the eighteenth century is 
contained in A. F. Frzier, Voyage a la Mer de Sud (1717). 

Conditions in the Philippines in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries are depicted in E. G. Bourne, " His- 
torical Introduction" to The Philippine Islands, vol. I. 
(edited by E. H. Blair and J. A. Robertson, 1903). 

The third volume of H. H. Bancroft, History of Mexico 
(1883), concludes with a detailed picture of Mexican life, 
and institutions at the end of the old regime. It is, on 
the whole, one of the best of the general descriptions. 

Arthur Helps, The Spanish Conquest in America (1855- 
i86i)T, devotes especial attention to the status of the Indians 
and the introduction of negro slaves. A new edition by 
M. Oppenheim (1900-) has valuable additional notes and 
references. One of the best single volumes on the economic 
side of the Spanish colonial system is A. de Saco, Historia 
de la Esclavitud de la Raza Africana en el Nuevo Mundo 
(1879), a work based upon contemporary materials often 
unprinted. Saco also published a valuable study of the 
encomienda system in the Revista de Cuba. 

On the mission system, besides the references given 
above (p. 307), may be noted Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 
x8x. Perhaps the most important account of the Jesuit 


mission work in Paraguay is M. Dobrizhoffer, Account of 
the Abipones, etc. (1822). E. Gothein, Der Christlich-sociale 
Staat der Jesuiten in Paraguay (1883), discusses the litera- 
ture of the Paraguay mission, p. 32. The missions in Cali- 
fornia are described in La Prouse, Voyage autour du Monde 
(1786), II., 260-275; in Beechy, Voyage to the Pacific, L, 
353-371; Duflot de Mofras, L'Oregon (1844), L, 261-279; 
H. H. Bancroft, California Pastoral (1888). 

The earlier regulations of the commerce between Spain 
and her colonies are set forth in Veitia Linage, Norte de la 
Contratacion de las Indias Occidentals (1672). Later 
usages and modifications are described in R. Antunez y 
Acevedo, Memorias Historicas sobre la Legislation y Gobierno 
del Comercio de los Espanoles con sus Colonias en las Indias 
Occidentals (1797), and J. G. Rubalcava, Tratado Historico 
Politico y Legal del Comercio (1750). The services of the 
Casa de Contratacion in advancing geographic knowledge 
and in developing the agricultural resources of the New 
World are described on the basis of its records by M. de la 
Puente y Olea, Los Trabajos Gtograficos de la Casa de 
Contratacion (1900). 

The relation of the colonial system to Spanish economic 
life is considered by M. Colmeiro, Historia de la Economia 
Politica en Espana ( 1 863) , II. The beginnings of the church 
in Mexico, as well as many other features of Spanish colo- 
nial policy, are treated in an illuminating way in J. G. 
Icazbalceta, " Don Fray Juan Zumarraga, Primer Obispo y 
Arzobispo de Mexico," Obras, I. (1896), and the mono- 
graphs in the other volumes of his collected works. In 
addition, L. Alaman, Disertaciones (1844-1849). 


Read Casa de Contratacion instead of " Casa de Contractacion " 
wherever the latter occurs. 





CK. JONES, A Bibliography of Latin American Bib- 
9 liographies (2nd rev. ed., 1942), offers a good point of 
departure for research, but is again in serious need 
of revision. The indispensable Handbook of Latin American 
Studies, published annually since 1936, attempts, with the aid 
of specialists in various disciplines, to digest the material pub- 
lished the preceding year. Oscar Handlin and others, Harvard 
Guide to American History (1954), replaces the old Channing, 
Hart, and Turner Guide; it is especially useful for the themes 
of discovery and exploration, but lacks annotation. R. A. 
Humphreys, Latin American History : A Guide to the Litera- 
ture in English (1958), is an exemplary reference work; 
critical and occasionally pungent comments on entries enhance 
the book's value. Charles Gibson and Benjamin Keen, "Trends 
of United States Studies in Latin American History," 
American Historical Review, LXII, 4 (July, 1957), 855-77, 
"provides a useful survey with extensive bibliographical 
notes/' The new American Historical Association Guide to 
Historical Literature (1961) replaces the old (1931) volume 
edited by Dutcher and others ; the sections on "The Expansion 
of Europe" and Latin American history, edited by C. E. 
Nowell and H. F. Cline, respectively, are of special value. 
Among reference works in Spanish, B. Sanchez Alonso, 
Fuentes de la historia espanola e hispanoamericana (3rd ed., 
3 vols., 1952), is the most comprehensive; it is an immense re- 
pository of titles, arranged according to subject and period, but 



without annotation. Since 1953 the quarterly Indice Histdrico 
Espanol, published by the Centre de Estudios Internacionales, 
Universidad de Barcelona, has been giving brief critical notices 
of recently published materials on Spanish and Spanish Amer- 
ican history. Note should also be taken of the series of his* 
toriographic studies in course of publication since 1953 by the 
Comisi6n de Historia of the Institute Panamericano de 
Geograf ia e Historia ; to date volumes dealing with Haiti, the 
British West Indies to 1900, Ecuador, Brazil in the sixteenth 
century, and Paraguay in the pre-Columbian and colonial 
periods have appeared. 

Students can keep abreast of the most recent writing in the 
field by consulting the review sections in the Hispanic American 
Historical Review (1926-), the American Historical Review 
(1895-), the Revista de Historia de America (1938-), the 
Review of Inter-American Bibliography (1951-), and The 
Americas, A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural 
History (1944-), published by the Academy of American 
Franciscan History. 


All of the current college texts in Latin American history 
treat, in varying depth, the topics featured in Bourne's book. 
M. W. Williams, R. J. Bartlett, and R. E. Miller, The People 
and Politics of Latin America (4th ed., i955) is an older 
work, repeatedly revised, but still very useful. A. Curtis 
Wilgus and Rauf d'E$a, Latin American History (sth ed., 
1962), is a guidebook in the Barnes & Noble College Outline 
Series. Three widely used recent texts are Hubert Herring, 
A History of Latin America from the Beginnings to the 
Present (1955) ; J. F. Rippy, Latin America, A Modern His- 
tory (1958); and H. M. Bailey and A. P. Nasatir, Latin 
America, The Development of Its Civilization, 1492 to the 
Present (1960). Benjamin Keen, ed., Readings in Latin Ameri- 
can Civilization, 1492 to the Present (i955>> provides a com- 
prehensive collection of translated sources. 

R. B. Merriman, The Rise of the Spanish Empire in the 


Old World and the New (4 vols., 1918-34), a work of vast 
scope and highest merit, views the process of discovery and 
colonization of America as a sequel to Spain's empire-building 
in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. For the background of this 
process, see J. H. Mariejol, The Spain of Ferdinand and 
Isabella, tr. and ed. by Benjamin Keen (1961), a lively as well 
as learned book. B. W. Diffie, Latin American Civilization: 
Colonial Period (1945), reveals great erudition and intensive 
thought; influenced by Carlos Pereyra and other revisionists, 
Diffie emphasizes Spanish contributions to economy and cul- 
ture and deprecates Indian pre-Columbian cultural achieve- 
ments ; on the other hand, he takes issue with those who claim 
that Spain imposed no restrictions on colonial culture. Diffie's 
positions are frequently debatable, but always command respect. 
Salvador de Madariaga, The Rise of the Spanish American 
Empire (1947), is readable but speculative. C E. Chapman, 
Colonial Hispanic America: A History (i 933), is written with 
the author's customary verve and is not altogether outdated. 
A. C. Wilgus, ed., Colonial Hispanic America (i93 6 ) is a ^l- 
lection of essays of uneven worth. 

C. R. Beazley, The Dawn of Modern Geography (3 vols., 
1897-1906; repr. 1949), traces in rich detail the gradual widen- 
ing of medieval geographical horizons. G. A. T. Kimball, 
Geography in the Middle Ages (i93 8 ) summarizes geograph- 
ical theory, ideas of the earth, and travel up to the beginning 
of the Renaissance. H. H. Hart, Venetian Adventurer (i94 2 )> 
is a sound yet readable account of Marco Polo; see also 
Leonardo Olschki, Marco Polo's Precursors (1943), for early 
travelers to the East A. P. Newton, ed., The Great Age of 
Discovery (1932), is a series of essays by English authorities 
on the great explorers. C. E. Nowell, The Great Discoveries 
and the First Empires (1951), is a brief, informing account. 
See also Boies Penrose, Travel and Discovery in the Renais- 
sance, 1420-1630 (1952); and, among older works, J. A. 
Williamson, Maritime Enterprise, 1485-1558 (1913)- R- A. 
Skelton, Explorers' Maps: Chapters in the Cartographic Rec- 
ord of Geographical Discovery (1958), is a fascinating "pic- 
torial companion to general histories of exploration." 


B. W. Diffie, Prelude to Empire: Portugal Overseas before 
Henry the Navigator (1961), is a valuable background study. 
S. E. Morison, Portuguese Voyages to America in the Fif- 
teenth Century (1940), subjects these voyages to careful 
scrutiny. Edgar Prestage, The Portuguese Pioneers (1933), 
is a well-written, reliable general account. J. P. Oliveira 
Martins, The Golden Age of Prince Henry the Navigator 
(1914), is very readable but partly outdated. 

I. B. Richman, The Spanish Conquerors (1918) ; and F. A. 
Kirkpatrick, The Spanish Conquistador es (1934), cover the 
same ground with sound and well-written summaries. H. E. 
Boltcm, The Spanish Borderlands (1921)* * s a model of good 
story-telling and sound scholarship; it opens with a series of 
chapters on sixteenth-century Spanish explorers in North 
America, then discusses individually the areas of Florida, 
New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and California, and concludes 
with a chapter on the Jesuits on the Pacific Coast. H. I. 
Priestley, Coming of the White Man, 1492-1848 (1928), is a 
broad survey of the spread of Europeans over the continent 
and their cultural contributions. J. B. Brebner, The Explorers 
of North America, 1492-1806 (1933; repr. 1955) is a compre- 
hensive, well-written account. John Bakeless, The Eyes of 
Discovery (1950), interestingly weaves together the first ex- 
plorers' descriptions of American flora, fauna, and geography. 

The process of Spanish discovery, exploration, and coloni- 
zation of America is traced in detail in successive volumes of 
Antonio Ballesteros y Beretta, ed., Historia de America y de 
los pueblos americanos (14 vols., 1936-56). 


The most important additional collection of sources on ex- 
ploration in territory now possessed by the United States is 
J. F. Jameson, ed., Original Narratives of Early American 
History (19 vols., 1906-1917; repr. 1959 by Barnes & Noble, 
Inc.). Volumes touching topics treated by Bourne are J. E. 
Olson and E. G. Bourne, eds., The Northmen, Columbus, and 
Cabot; F. W. Hodge and T. H. Lewis, eds., Spanish Explorers 


in the Southern United States; H. S. Burrage, ed., Early 
English and French Voyages; W. L. Grant, ed., Voyages of 
Champtoin; H. E. Bolton, ed., Spanish Explorations in the 

For some account of the publications of the Hakluyt Society, 
the Cortes Society, and the Quivira Society, all of which have 
issued translations of important early Spanish chronicles and 
documents relating to Spanish America, see Humphreys (cited 
above). Publication of the great Coleccidn de Documentos 
Ineditos Relatives al Descubrimiento, etc., cited in Bourne's 
bibliography, was continued until 1932, when the collection 
numbered 67 volumes. It has been indexed by Ernst Schafer, 
Indice de la coleccidn de document os ineditos de Indias (2 
vols., 1946-47). Other important source collections for Spanish 
America include S. Montoto and Rafael Altamira, eds., 
Coleccidn de documentos ineditos para la historia de Hispano- 
America (14 vols., 1928-32), most useful for institutional and 
social history; and L. C. Blanco and J. F. Guillen, Coleccidn 
de diarios y relaciones para la historia de los viajes y descu- 
brimientos (4 vols., I943-4 6 )- Some of the most important 
early chronicles appear in M. Serrano y Sanz, ed., Historia- 
dores de Indias (2 vols., 1919), and Historiadores primitivos 
de Indias (2 vols., 1925). For other pertinent collections, see 
entries under "printed sources" in the section on Latin 
American history edited by H. F. Cline in the new American 
Historical Association Guide to Historical Literature. 


Two recent bibliographical aids are Donald Mugridge, A 
Selected List of Books and Articles Published by American 
Authors or Published in America, 1892-1950 (195); and 
C. E. Nowell, 'The Columbus Question. A Survey of Recent 
Literature and Present Opinion," American Historical Re- 
view, XLIV (July, 1939), 802-22. 

Ferdinand Columbus's biography of his father remains, in 
the words of Henry Vignaud, "the most important of our 


sources of information on the life of the discoverer of America." 
Bourne's statement (in his Critical Essay on Authorities) that 
"the earlier part, prior to 1492, is of uncertain authenticity," 
may now be dismissed as unfounded. For the history of the 
wearisome controversy concerning the book's authenticity, see 
Rinaldo Caddeo's introduction to Le Historic delta vita e dei 
fatti di Crist of or o Colombo per D. Fernando Colombo suo 
figlio (2 vols., 1930). Briefer accounts are found in Ramon 
Iglesia's preface to his Spanish translation, Vida del Almirante 
Don Crist 6bal Coldn (1947), and in my preface to The Life 
of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by His Son Ferdinand 
(1959), the first modern English translation, superseding the 
archaic version cited by Bourne. 

Bourne wrote when the process of re-evaluating Columbus 
and the materials for his life by the methods of modern his- 
torical criticism, initiated by Henry Harrisse, was reaching 
its climax. A major figure in this tradition was Henry Vignaud, 
whose Histoire de la grande entreprise de Christophe Colomb 
(2 vols., 1911) (summarized in his The Columbian Tradition 
(1920), materially contributed tp the reconstruction of 
Columbus's early life by its meticulous sifting of sources. 
Salvador de Madariaga, Christopher Columbus (1940), is a 
vividly written but highly speculative work. S. E. Morison, 
Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus 
(2 vols., 1942), supersedes all previous accounts; it is as close 
to being the definitive life of the Discoverer as the mutability 
of historical knowledge and opinion makes possible. Morison 
based his account of Columbus's life on the researches of other 
students, but brought to his work an admirable spirit of com- 
mon sense lacking in some previous writers; his major contri- 
bution consisted in reconstruction of Columbus's voyages 
through re-exploration of their routes with ships approximat- 
ing those of Columbus in rig and burthen, combined with 
careful study of Columbus's Journals and other sources. A 
recent large Spanish work is Antonio Ballesteros y Beretta, 
Cristdbal Coldn y el descubrimiento de America (2 vols., 1945). 
D. L. Molinari, La empresa colombina (1938), is an admirable 
compact study. 



The principal sources for the voyages of Columbus continue 
to be his own writings, some preserved intact, others abstracted 
or embedded in the biography by his son Ferdinand (see 
my translation, cited above), or in the monumental Historia 
de las Indias of Bartolome de Las Casas. Of this work there 
are two recent editions; that of A, Millares Carlo, with an 
introduction by Lewis Hanke (3 vols., 1951), and that of 
Perez de Tudela (2 vols., 1957). 

Cecil Jane has translated and edited letters and journals of 
Columbus in The Voyages of Christopher Columbus (2 vols., 
1930), and Select Documents Illustrating the Four Voyages of 
Columbus (2 vols., 1930-33). Using the Cecil Jane translation 
as his base, L. A. Vigneras has produced a new version of the 
Journal of the First Voyage, with critical annotations and a 
useful appendix by R. A. Skelton on "The Cartography of 
Columbus's First Voyage," The Journal of Christopher Co- 
lumbus (1960). This is a very handsomely made and illus- 
trated book. 

The Decades of Peter Martyr d'Anghera, cited by Bourne 
as the first history of the New World, is now available in a 
modern English translation by F. A. MacNutt, De Orbe Novo, 
The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr d'Anghera (2 vols., 1912) . 
The word Decades in the title has no chronological denotation. 
The work originally consisted of a succession of Latin letters ; 
hence the name Decades (groups of ten letters). 

Recent monographs have enlarged our knowledge and under- 
standing of the Columbian enterprise at various points. G. E. 
Nunn has shed light on The Geographical Conceptions of 
Columbus (1924). For ship construction see J. F. Guillen 
Tato, La caravela Santa Maria (1927) and Heinrich Winter, 
Die Kolumbusschiffe (1944). Columbus' s language and. vo- 
cabulary have been studied by Ramon Menendez Pidal, La 
lengua de Cristdbal Colon (1942); Rodrigo de Sa Nogueira, 
"Portuguesismos en Cristovao Colombo/' Miscelanea de Filo- 
logia t Literatura f e Historia Cultural a Memoria de Francisco 
Adolf o Coelho (1950), pp. 81-107; and J. F. Guillen Tato, La 


parla marinera en el diario del primer viaje de Cristdbal 
Coldn (1951). Alice Gould has provided a biographical dic- 
tionary of Columbus's shipmates in her "Nueva lista docu- 
mentada de los tripulantes de Colon en 1492," Bole tin de la 
Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid), LXXXV-CXV 
(1924-44). The problem of the site of Columbus's landfall has 
recently come up for renewed discussion. E. A. and M. C. 
Links, "A New Theory on Columbus' Voyage Through the 
Bahamas," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections (Washing- 
ton), CXXXV, 4 (1958), 1-32, argue that Columbus first 
landed on Caicos; E. Roukema, "Columbus Landed on Wat- 
lings Island," The American Neptune, II, ii (April, 1959), 
pp. 79-113, restates the traditional position. 


On the Cabot voyages, the material cited by Bourne should 
be supplemented by J. A. Williamson, The Voyages of the 
Cabots and the English Discovery of North America under 
Henry VII and Henry VIII (195(3), "a definitive study," ac- 
cording to C. M. Andrews, "which for the first time treats 
the subject dispassionately and with an historian's regard for 
evidence/' L. A. Vigneras has two interesting notes based on 
a recently unearthed letter, "New Light on the 1497 Cabot 
Voyage to America/* Hispanic American Historical Review, 
XXXVI (November, 1956), 503-509; and "The Cape Breton 
Landfall: 1494 or 1497; Note on A Letter from John Day/' 
Canadian Historical Review, XXXVIII (September, 1957), 
219-28. For Sebastian Cabot's activity under the Spanish flag, 
see the heavily documented work of J. T. Medina, El veneciano 
Sebastian Caboto al servicio de Espana (2 vols., 1908). 

For general accounts of the Portuguese explorations, see 
Prestage, The Portuguese Pioneers, and other relevant entries 
under "General Secondary Works." 

H. H. Hart has told the story of Vasco da Gama and his 
exploit in a sound yet readable work, Sea Road to the Indies 
(1950). Jaime Cortesao, A expedicao de Pedro Alvares Cabral 
e o descobrimento do Brasil (1922), is a standard work. On 


Cabral's intentions, see C E. Nowell, "The Discovery of 
Brazil Accidental or Intentional ?," Hispanic American His- 
torical Review, XVI (1936), 311-38, but compare Prestage, 
The Portuguese Pioneers, Morison, The Portuguese Voyages, 
and W. B. Greenlee, ed., The Voyage of Pedro Alvares Cabral 
to Brazil and India, from Contemporary Narratives and Docu- 
ments (i93 8 ) 

For the secondary voyages of Pinzon, Nino, and Hojeda, 
see Amando Melon y Ruiz de Gordejuela, Los primer os 
tiempos de la colonizacidn, Cuba y las Antillas, y la primera 
vuelta al mundo (1952), Vol. VI of Ballesteros y Beretta, ed., 
Historia de America y los pueblos americanos. D. L. Molinari, 
El nacimiento del nuevo mundo (1492-1534) (1942), is an ad- 
mirable summary of the Columbian enterprise and its sequel 
of exploration and conquest. 


The most significant development in the Vespucci contro- 
versy is the notable effort made by Alberto Magnaghi in his 
Amerigo Vespucci: Studio critico (1926) to rehabilitate the 
Florentine navigator by declaring spurious the two letters 
attributed to Vespucci describing four voyages to America, 
while accepting as genuine the three letters describing only 
two voyages. Magnaghi thus absolves Vespucci of having 
foisted his name upon the New World by publishing accounts 
of a fictitious voyage in which he claimed to have reached 
the American mainland before Columbus. F. J. Pohl, Amerigo 
Vespucci, Pilot Major (1944), adopts the Magnaghi position, 
and rates Vespucci highly as an explorer and cartographer. 
Not content with Magnaghi's compromise formula, Roberto 
Levillier, Amirica la bien llamada (2 vols., 1948), claims the 
utmost for Vespucci, arguing for the authenticity of all the 
voyages on the basis of cartographic evidence. Stefan Zweig, 
Amerigo, A Comedy of Errors in History (1942), is a delight- 
ful literary version of the Magnaghi interpretation; German 
Arciniegas, Amerigo and the New World; The Life and 
Times of Amerigo Vespucci (i955)> ^ an equally readable 


presentation of the Levillier thesis. For source materials, see 
G. T. Northrup, ed., Vespucci Reprints (7 vols., 1916). 


For recent surveys of these topics, see the works of Melon 
y Ruiz de Gordejuela, Los primeros tiempos de la colonizatidn, 
and Molinari, El nacimiento del wuevo mundo (cited above). 
On Balboa and Magellan, see the works of the eminent Chilean 
scholar J. T. Medina, El descubrimiento del oc6ano pacifico. 
Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Hernando de Magallanes y sus com- 
paneros (2 vols., 1913-14) ; and El descubrimiento del octano 
pacifico. Hernando de Magallanes y sus companeros (2 vols., 
1920). C. L. G. Anderson, Life and Letters of Vasco Nunez 
de Balboa (1941), is a semipopular treatment. C. M. Parr, 
So Noble A Captain: The Life and Times of Ferdinand 
Magellan (1953), is both scholarly and readable. An older life 
of value is Jean Denuce, Magellan, la question des Moluques 
et la premiere circumnavigation du globe (1911). See also 
Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voy&ge Around the World, tr. 
and ed. by J. A. Robertson (a vols., 1906), the journal of 
Magellan's secretary. 


For convenient summaries of Spanish exploration of the 
Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, see Bolton, The Spanish Border- 
lands; H. I. Priestley, The Coming of the White Man; and 
J. B. Brebner, The Explorers of North America. 

Vicente Murga Sanz, Juan Ponce de Ledn (1959), is an 
important new work based on Spanish manuscript sources and 
offers a positive assessment of Ponce as a constructive figure 
in Spanish empire-building. Barcia's chronicle, cited by 
Bourne, is now available in a translation by Anthony Kerrigan, 
Barcia's Chronological History of the Continent of Florida 

On early French explorations, Parkman's classic Pioneers 

of France in the New World, cited by Bourne, should be 


supplemented by the opening chapters of G. M. Wrong, The 
Rise and Fall of New France (2 vols., 1928). C. G. M. B. de 
la Ronciere, Jacques Cartier (1931), and Gaston Martin, 
Jacques Cartier et la dfaouverte de I'Amtrique (1938), are 
two modern lives. For source materials, see the collections of 
documents edited by H. P. Biggar, The Precursors of Jacques 
Cartier (1911); and The Voyages of Cartier (1924). 


William H. Prescott's classic History of the Conquest of 
Mexico (1843) remains unsurpassed for breadth of concep- 
tion and literary charm, but its romantic attitudes clearly 
reveal the book's age. F. A. MacNutt, Fernando Cortes and 
the Conquest of Mexico (1908), is a semipopular account very 
favorable to its hero. H. R. Wagner, The Rise of Fernando 
Cortes (1944), is a scholarly biography. Salvador de Madari- 
aga, Hernan Cortes, Conqueror of Mexico (2nd ed., 1955), 
features a dubious psychological interpretation; quite unreli- 
able. Maurice Collis, Cortes and Montezuma (1955), is a 
well-written account of the conflict between two worlds of 
culture. Studies of the military aspects of the Conquest include 
C. H. Gardiner, Naval Power in the Conquest of Mexico 
(1956); Mario Alberto Salas, Las armas de la conquista 
(1950); and R. M. Denhardt, "The Equine Strategy of 
Cortes," Hispanic American Historical Review, XVIII (1937), 


Among the considerable number of sources turned into 
English since the appearance of Bourne's book, two of the 
most important are The Letters of Cortes, tr. and ed. by F. A. 
MacNutt (2 vols., 1908) ; and Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The 
True History of the Conquest of New Spain, tr. by A. P. 
Maudslay (5 vols., 1908-16). 

On the subject of northern explorations, H. E. Bolton, The 
Spanish Borderlands; J. E. Brebner, The Explorers of North 
America, and H. I. Priestley, The Coming of the White Man, 
all offer sound, concise surveys. The dramatic story of Cabeza 
de Vaca is told in detail in Cleve Hallenbeck, Alvar Ntinez 


Cabeza de Vaca (1940). Morris Bishop, The Odyssey of 
Cabeza de Vaca (1933), is a pleasantly written biography. 
Newly available sources on De Soto include Garcilaso de la 
Vega, The Florida of the Inca. A History of the Adelantado, 
Hernando de Soto, ed. by J. G. and J. J. Varner (1951), and 
a new translation by J. A. Robertson of the Gentleman of 
Elvas, True Relation of the Hardships suffered by Governor 
Fernando de Soto and certain Portuguese Gentlemen during 
the Discovery of the Province of Florida (2 vols., 1932-33). 
For the exploits of Fray Marcos de Niza, who sighted "the 
Seven Cities of Cibola," see Cleve Hallenbeck, The Journal 
of Fray Marcos (1949). Recent studies of the Coronado ex- 
pedition include H. E. Bolton, Coronado on the Turquoise 
Trail: Knight of Pueblos and Plains (1949), and A. G. Day, 
Coronado's Quest. The Discovery of the South-Western States 
(1940). For documentary material, see G. P. Hammond and 
Agapito Rey, eds., Narratives of the Coronado Expedition, 
1540-1542 (194)- 

On Spanish explorations along the Pacific Coast, see H. R. 
Wagner, Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast of America 
in the Sixteenth Century (1929). 

On the subject of Bourne's Chapter XII, "French and 
Spaniards in Florida/' Bourne's references should be supple- 
mented by Woodbury Lowery, The Spanish Settlements in 
Florida, 1563-1574 (1911), especially for the Menendez epi- 
sode. On the general subject of Franco-Spanish conflict, see 
Henry Folmer, Franco-Spanish Rivalry in North America 



C. H. Haring, The Spanish Empire in America (2nd ed., 
1952), is an authoritative study of colonial institutions; it is 
particularly good on political administration. B. W. Diffie, 
Latin American Civilisation: Colonial Period, is a work of 
formidable scholarship and sharply defined viewpoints on 
many topics. Bernard Moses, The Spanish Dependencies in 
South America (2 vols., 1914), is pedestrian in style and unin- 


spired in approach, but faithfully digests available printed 
sources. Outstanding general works in Spanish include Carlos 
Pereyra, Vol. II, El Imperio Espanol, of his Historia de la 
America Espafiola (8 vols., 1924-25), and J. M. Ots Capdequi, 
El estado espafiol en las Indias (and ed., 1946). 

In recent decades the political institutions of the Indies have 
been explored in monographic detail. Ernst Schafer, El Con- 
sejo Real y Supremo de las Indias .(2 vols., 1935-47), is a 
definitive study of the fountainhead of Spanish colonial policy. 
J. H. Parry, The Spanish Theory of Empire in the Sixteenth 
Century (1940), is a useful background study. Typical mono- 
graphs on administrative structure include L. E. Fisher, 
Viceregal Administration in the Spanish American Colonies 
(1926), and her The Intendant System in Spanish America 
(*9 2 9) ' Jhn Lynch, Spanish Colonial Administration, 1782- 
1810: The Intendant System in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de 
la Plata (1958), a study in Bourbon efforts at political reform; 
and J. P. Moore, The Cabildo in Peru under the Hapsburgs 
(1954). Important political biographies include A. S. Aiton, 
Antonio de Mendoza, First Viceroy of New Spain (1927), 
Roberto Levillier, Don Francisco de Toledo, Supremo Organi- 
zador del Peru (5 vols., 1935-1947), and Ursula Lamb, Fray 
Nicolas de Ovando, gobernador de la Indias, 150 1-1509 ( 1958) . 

An extensive literature has arisen on the juridical and moral 
problems created by the Conquest and on the development of 
Spain's Indian policy. Silvio Zavala ably summarizes modern 
insights into the evolution of political, social, and economic 
institutions in the Indies in his New Viewpoints on the Spanish 
Colonization of America (1943). He has also written on Las 
instituciones juridicas de la conquista de America (1933), on 
The Political Philosophy of the Conquest of America (1953; 
orig. pub. in 1947), and on Utopian elements in the ideology 
of the Conquest, in La 'Utopia' de Tomds Moro en la Nueva 
Espana (1937) and Ideario de Vasco de Quiroga (1941). See 
also, for Messianic and Utopian influences in the Conquest, 
Lewis Hanke, The First Social Experiments in America 
(1933), and J. L. Phelan, The Mittenial Kingdom of the 
Franciscans in the New World (1956). 


On Las Casas, who played so large a part in the debate on 
Spain's Indian policy, see the writings of Lewis Hanke, espe- 
cially The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of 
America (1948), Bartolomt de las Casas. An Interpretation of 
His Life and Writings ( 1951 ), and Aristotle and the American 
Indians (1959), a study of the controversy between Las Casas 
and Juan Gines de Sepiilveda over the nature and capacities 
of the Indians. 

A considerable literature now exists on the economic life of 
the Spanish colonies. C. H. Haring, Trade and Navigation 
between Spain and the Indies in the Time of the Hapsburgs 
(1918), remains a standard work. Huguette and Pierre Chaunu 
are exploring Spain's commerce with the Indies on an archival 
base in Seville et VAtlantique (8 vols. planned, 1955-). Wil- 
liam Schurz, The Manila Galleon (1939), studies the colorful 
Chinese silk trade between Manila and Acapulco. On mining, 
see Modesto Bargallo, La mineria y la metalurgia en la 
America Espanola durante la epoca colonial (1955), for a 
general survey; and, for special studies, R. C. West, The 
Mining Community of Northern N*w Spain: The Parral Min- 
ing District (1942) and Colonial Placer Mining in Colombia 
(1942), A. P. Whitaker, The Huancavelica Mine (1941), 
C, G. Motten, Mexican Silver and the Enlightenment (1950), 
and Walter Howe, The Mining Guild of New Spain and Its 
Tribunal General, 1770-1821 (1949). 

J. M. Ots Capdequi, Espana en America: El regimen de 
tierras en la epoca colonial (1959), surveys the juridical foun- 
dations of colonial land tenure. Francois Chevalier, La forma- 
tion des grands domaines au Mexique: terre et societe aux 
XVIe-XVHe sitcles (1952), a landmark in the study of colo- 
nial land systems, traces the interplay of demographic and 
economic trends in the development of the hacienda. L. B. 
Simpson has studied Exploitation of Land in Central Mexico 
in the i6th century (1956), showing, among other conclusions, 
the replacement of men by sheep. 

The encomienda has been the subject of careful scrutiny in 
recent decades. A pioneer work in the field is L. B. Simpson, 
The Encomienda in New Spain (rev. ed., 1950). See also, 


among other studies, Silvio Zavala, La encomienda indiana 
(1935), E. R. Service, Spanish-Guvrani Relations in Early 
Colonial Paraguay (1954), and E - Arcila Farias, El regimen 
de la encomienda en Venezuela (1957), Jose Miranda, El 
tributo indigena en la Nueva Espana durante el siglo XVI 
(1952) is a technical study for the advanced student. 

On the closely related subject of population and demo- 
graphic trends, see, for a general survey of nonwhite groups, 
Angel Rosenblatt, La poblacion indigena y el mestisaje en 
America (2 vols., 1954). S. F. Cook and Woodrow Borah 
have made an extraordinarily illuminating series of studies of 
post-Conquest Indian population trends in Mexico; they have 
consolidated and revised their findings in The Indian Popula- 
tion of Central Mexico, 1531-1610 (1960). Woodrow Borah's 
New Spain's Century of Depression (1951), is a fundamental 
work that links the decline in population to a drop in mining 
and food production, to the rise of Spanish latifundia, and to 
the growth of repartimiento labor and debt peonage. On the 
rise of peonage, see also Silvio Zavala's New Viewpoints, and 
his "Origenes coloniales del peonaje en Mexico," Trimestre 
Economico (Mexico), X (i944>> 7 II- "4 8 - 

On the Negro in the Spanish colonies, see, for a general 
survey, Arturo Ramos, Las culturas negras en el Nuevo 
Mundo (1943), and, for a special study, G. Aguirre Beltran, 
La poblacidn negra de Mexico, 1519-1810 (1946). Frank Tan- 
nenbaum, The Negro in the Americas (1946), is a compara- 
tive study of the status of the Negro in Latin America and 
the United States. On the slave trade, see G. Aguirre Beltran, 
"The Slave Trade in Mexico/' Hispanic American Historical 
Review, XXIV (1944), 402-31; and Fernando Romero, "The 
Slave Trade and the Negro in South America," ibid., XXIV 
(1944), 368-86. 

On immigration to the Indies, see L. Rubio y Moreno, 
Pasajeros a Indies. Siglo primero de la colonizacidn de 
America, 1492-1592 (2 vols., 1932). V. A. Neasham, "Spain's 
Emigrants to the New World, 1492-1592," Hispanic American 
Historical Review, XIX 0939), i47~6o, w * slight summary 


For summaries of Spain's Indian policy in the two great 
colonial centers, see Silvio Zavala and Jose Miranda, "Insti- 
tuciones indigenas en la colonia," in Alfonso Caso, ed., 
Mttodos y resultados de la politica indigenista en Mexico 
(1954), pp. 29-112, and J. H. Rowe, "The Incas under Span- 
ish Colonial Institutions/' Hispanic American Historical Re- 
view, XXXVII (1957), 155-99. Charles Gibson, Tlaxcala in 
the Sixteenth Century (1955), is a careful study of Indian 
adaptation to the ways of their conquerors; see also Gibson's 
"The Transformation of the Indian Community in New 
Spain, 1500-1810," Journal of World History f II (1955), 
581-607. E. R. Wolf, Sons of the Shaking Earth (1959), con- 
tains much provocative discussion on Mexican cultural evolu- 
tion under the impact of Spanish conquest, and is provided 
with a very useful bibliography. 

J. L. Mecham, Church and State in Latin America (1934), 
contains introductory chapters covering the colonial era. The 
best work on the process of conversion is Robert Ricard, La 
"Conquete spirituelle" du Mexique (1933) ; but see also C. S. 
Braden, Religious Aspects of the Conquest of Mexico (1930). 
H. C. Lea, The Inquisition in the Spanish Dependencies 
(1908), remains a standard work on the Holy Office in the 
Spanish colonies; for special studies, see J. T. Medina, His- 
toria del tribunal del santo oficio de la Inquisicidn en Lima, 
1569-1820 (2 vols., 1887), and La primitiva inqwisicidn ameri- 
cana f 1493-1569 (2 vols., 1914). J. F. Rippy and J. T. Nelson, 
Crusaders of the Jungle (1936), is a slight semipopular 

V. G. Quesada, La vida intelectual en la America espanola 
durante los siglos XVI, XVII y XVIII (1917), is still a use- 
ful introductory sketch. Bernard Moses, Spanish Colonial 
Literature in South America (1922), is pedestrian in style and 
tone, but presents basic information. Pedro Henriquez Urena, 
Literary Currents in Hispanic America (i945> contains bril- 
liant discussion of the colonial literary achievement. For the 
culture of colonial Mexico, see Julio Jimenez Rueda, Historia 
de la cultura en Mexico: El Virreinato (1950), a work that 
richly merits translation; for that of Peru, Felipe Barreda 


Laos, Vida intelectual del virreinato del Peru (1937) ; for that 
of Argentina, Jose Ingenieros, Evolucidn de las ideas argen- 
tinas (1937), a penetrating work written from a Marxist point 
of view. I. A. Leonard is a leading authority on the literary 
culture of the Spanish colonies; his Books of the Brave 
(1949), is "an account of books and of men in the Spanish 
conquest and settlement of the . . . new world" ; his Baroque 
Times in Old Mexico (1960), is an elegant and sensitive re- 
creation of the literary and social climate of seventeenth- 
century Mexico. J. T. Lanning is the author of a standard 
work on Academic Culture in the Spanish Colonies (1940); 
see also his The University in the Kingdom of Guatemala 
(1955) and The Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment in the 
University of San Carlos de Guatemala (1956). Among the 
substantial contributions to the history of colonial art are Pal 
Kelemen, Baroque and Rococo in Latin America (1951), G. A. 
Kubler, Mexican Architecture of the Sixteenth Century (2 
vols., 1948), and H. E. Wethey, Colonial Architecture and 
Sculpture in Peru (1949). 


ABREU, ANTONIO D f , at Spice 
Islands, 1 14. 

Administration. See Colonies. 

Africa, voyages on west coast, 
4-7; Mauro's map, 5. 

Agents. See Proctors. 

Agriculture in Spanish colonies, 
royal encouragement, 2 15-2 1 7 ; 
value, 298; products, 298; 
grazing, 290, 300. 

Alaminos, with Cordova, 150. 

Alarcon, exploration, 171. 

Albuquerque, Alfonso d', con- 
quers Malacca, 114. 

Alcaldias mayores, 234, 235 n. 

Alexander VI., and Columbus's 
discovery, 29 ; bulls of demar- 
cation, 31. 

Alfonso V., explorations, 6 ; Tos- 
canellfs letter, 12. 

Almagro, exploration, 193. 

Alvarado, in Mexico, 156; in 
Guatemala, 158; at Quito, 191. 

Amazon River, discovered, 70; 
explored, 192. 

America, discovery inevitable, 
75; and Asia, 97, 104; origin 
of name, 90-102; supposed 
strait, 104; effect of Magel- 
lan's voyage, 132; character 
of Spanish interest, 142; bib- 
liography on naming, 330, 346. 
See also North America, South 
America, and subdivisions by 

Anticosti discovered, 146. 

Antilia on Benincasa's map, 6. 

Arriaga, Luis de, colony, 216. 

Asia, and Columbus's objective 
and land-fall, 10, u, 17, 18, 
23, 24, 30; and New World, 
97, 104. 

Asshchurste, Thomas, charter, 

Audiencias, colonial, nucleus, 
227; districts, 229, 2^2; func- 
tions, 232 ; court officials, 233 ; 
council, 239; appeal, 234: tour 
of inspection, 234; subdivi- 
sions, 234. 

Ayllon, L. V. de, exploration 
and colony, 138-140; death, 
140; location of colony, 14011. 

Ayolas, Juan de, exploration, 

B ADA jos Junta, 131. 

Balboa, V. N. de, in Darien, 
1 08- and Indians, 109; hears 
of reru, 109; discovers Paci- 
fic, 109-1 1 1 ; fail, 1 1 1 ; char- 
acter, in; bibliography, 331, 

Bastidas, Rodrigo de, voyage, 


Benalcazar, at Quito, 192. 

Benincasa, Graciosus, map, 6. 

Bering, Vitus, voyage, 132. 

Bibliographies, of Spanish Amer- 
ica, 320, 338; of Cabot, 328, 
345; of naming of America, 
330, 345J of Coronado, 334, 

Bimine, Ponce's search, 134. 




Board of Trade, Spanish proto- 
type, 227. 

Bobadilla, Francisco de, gover- 
nor, 51 ; and Columbus, 51-53 ; 
fate, 78. 

Bogota, Spanish reach, 192; 
audiencia, 232. 

Bristol, trade, 54 ; early voyages, 
55 ; chartered company, 62, 63. 
See also Cabot. 

Buenos Ay res, viceroyalty, 231; 
audiencia, 232; trade restric- 
tions, 290, 297. 

CABOT, JOHN, patent, 55, 56; 
earlier career, 56; genesis of 
project, 56; first voyage, 57; 
reception, 57; problem of 
voyage, 58; land-fall, 59; 
second voyage, 60; sources, 
60; fate, 60, 66; probable 
route, 6 1, 65; modern fame, 
103; bibliography, 328, 345. 

Cabot, Sebastian, and father's 
voyages, 58-61. 63; modern 
fame, 103; voyage (1508), 
105 n. 

Cabral, Pedralvarez, voyage, 73. 
74; bibliography, 329, 345. 

Cabrillo, J. R., voyage, 173, 191. 

Cadiz, colonial trade, 284, 295. 

California, coast explored, 158, 

173. 191- 

Canada, Carder's explorations, 
145-147 ; Roberval's colony, 

Canaries, Columbus at, 21, 35. 

Cantino map, and Cabot's voy- 
ages, 61; and Corte-Real's 
voyages, 64. 

Captain-general in Spanish col- 
onies, duties, 231, 233; term, 
salary, 231; inquest into con- 
duct, 231; and audiencia, 233. 

Cartier, Jacques, voyages, 145- 
148; bibliography, 333, 347; 

Casa de Contratacion at Seville, 
duties and officers, 222, 223. 

Castilla del Oro, attempted col- 

ony, 1 06, 107; transferred, 
107; Hojeda's colony and 
Nicuesa, 108; Balboa's lead- 
ership, 1 08, 109; isthmus 
crossed, 109-1 1 1 ; Pedrarias 
governor, Balboa's fall, 1 1 1 ; 
settlement on Pacific, 112. 
Catholicism in Spanish colonies, 
provision, 204 ; sifting of emi- 
gration, 207, 218, 243; indul- 
gencies, 240; Inquisition, 244, 
312-314; royal control, 302; 
conversion of Indians, 303 ; 
types of work, 304; clergy, 
304; missions, 305; morals of 
clergy, 306; education of In- 
dians, 308; bibliography, 336, 

337, 353- 

Central America, Columbus on 
coast, 79; Pinzon on coast, 
105; conquest, 158. 

Charles III., trade policy, 296, 

Charles V., and Magellan, 118; 
and claim to East Indies, 131 ; 
charter to Garay, 137; and 
colonial emigration, 245; uni- 
versities, 309. 

Charters, to Bristol merchants 
(1501), 62, 63; Garay (1523), 
137; Ayllon (1523), 139- 
See also Patents. 

Chili, Spanish reach, 193; cap- 
taincy-general, 231 ; audien- 
cia, 232; granted to Fuggers, 

Cobos, Francis de los, in colonial 
council, 224. 

Coelho, voyage, 89. 

Colmenares, relieves Nicuesa, 
1 08. 

Colon, Diego, governor, 149. 

Colonies, English, achievement 
and development, 194, 195; 
immigration policy, 247, 248; 
frontier method, 306. 

Colonies, French. Se* Canada, 



Colonies, Spanish, preparation 
for first, 34; settlement on 
main-land, 1 06- 1 08 ; Garay 's 
attempt, 137; Ayllon's, 138- 
140; character of home in- 
terests, 142 ; Velasco's at- 
tempt, 175; and Huguenot 
settlement, 178, 179; achieve- 
ment, 195-201 ; population 
(i574)i 196; islands and 
main-land, 197, 204, 219, 
248-250; system and English 
system, 202-204 ; Spanish 
culture transmitted, 204; 
early policy, 204-206; legal 
relation with Spain, 220; 
colonial minister, 221; royal 
council, 224-227; home ad- 
ministration transplanted, 227 ; 
local government, 227, 234- 
237; audiencias, 227, 232- 
234; representation, 228; 
official divisions, 229, 231, 
232; viceroys, 229-231; cap- 
tains-general, 231 ; inquiry 
into official conduct, 231; 
inspection, 234 ; municipal 
agents, 237; purchase of 
office, 237-239; royal revenue 
239; taxation, 240; burden, 
241 ; self-support, 241 ; char- 
acter of government, 242 ; 
bibliography on system, 335- 
337, 349-353- See also Ca- 
tholicism, Economic condi- 
tions, Emigration, Indians, 
Slavery, Social conditions, 
Spanish America, Trade, and 
colonies by name. 

Colorado River, discovery, 171; 
Grand Canon discovered, 172. 

Columbus, Bartholomew, in Eng- 
land, 16; adelantado, 42; 
rule, 42, 44, 49 5*J sketch 
map, 95. 

Columbus, Christopher, birth 
and origin, 8, 9; training, 9; 
geographical studies, 10, 11, 
17; in Portugal, u, 15; mar- 

riage, 1 1 ; early voyages, 1 1 ; 
origin of design, 12-15; ef- 
forts in Spain, 16, 17; brother 
in England, 16; Isabella aids, 
17; purpose of voyage, 17, 18; 
contract, 1 7 ; first voyage, 20- 
26; departure, 20; crews, 20; 
ships, 21 ; at Canaries, 21; 
own account of voyage, 22, 
28 ; outward voyage, 22 ; land- 
fall, 23; belief in Asian land- 
fall, 23, 24 ; discovers Cuba, 
24; at Espanola, 25; leaves a 
settlement, 25 ; return voyage, 
25; in Portugal, 26; in Spain, 
27; news of discovery, 28; 
royal announcement of dis- 
covery, 29 ; reception at court, 
33; arms, 34; second voyage, 
34-44; preparation, 34; out- 
ward voyage, 35; in Espanola, 
35; founds Isabella, 36; sick- 
ness, 36, 42; inland explora- 
tions, 36, 39; on colonial 
needs, 37, 38; and Indian 
slave-trade, $8, 50; plot 
against, 39; alienates hidal- 
gos, 40; on Cuban coast, 40; 
oath as to main-land, 40; plan 
of circumnavigation, 41 ; and 
his brother, 42 ; war on na- 
tives, 43; native tribute, 4*; 
returns to Spain, 44; on the 
defensive, 44; restored to fa- 
vor, 45; and open exploration 
and trade, 45, 282; third 
voyage, 46-53 ; preparation, 
46; outward route, 47; on 
South American coast, 47; 
mysticism, 47, 76; mytho- 
logical geography, 48; and 
Santo Domingo revolt, 49, 
50; misgivings in Spain, 50; 
superseded, 51 ; sent home in 
irons, 52 ; character of gov- 
ernment, 52; at court, 53; 
lost position, 53; and Gama's 
voyage, 73, 75; not indis- 
pensable, 75; to rescue Holy 



Sepulchre, 76; fourth voyage, 
76-81; purpose, 76, 77; out- 
ward voyage, 77; at Santo 
Domingo, 77, 78; storms, 78; 
on Central American coast, 
79; at Jamaica, 80; return, 
8 1 ; death, 81 ; service, 82; 
character, 82, 8<j; popular 
knowledge of third voyage, 
91 ; use of name New World, 
94, 97; names West Indies, 
95; and name America, 101- 
103; modern fame, 103; co- 
lonial policy, 204-206; bibli- 
ography on life, 323-325; 
bibliography on voyages, 325- 

^ 327, 344-345- 

Columbus, Ferdinand, and name 
America, 102. 

Conchillos, Lope de, in colonial 
council, 224. 

Cordova, Hernandez de, voyage, 
150; death, 151. 

Coronado, Francisco de, origin 
of expedition, 1 69, 1 70 ; equip- 
ment, 170; at Cibola, 171 ; side 
explorations, 171 ; and Indians, 
172 ; advance to Quivira, 172 ; 
return, 173 ; results, 173 ; place 
in history, 174; bibliography, 

334* 349- 

Corregimientos, 234, 235 n. 

Cor te- Real, charter and voyages, 
64-66; memorial, 66; bibli- 
ography, 329. 

Cortes, Hernando, and Garay, 
137; in Cuba, 149; conquest 
of Mexico, 152-157; previous 
career, 152; force, 153; for- 
tunate coincidences, 153, 154; 
Aztec opponents, 154, 155; ac- 
count, 155;. greatness, 157; 
care for Mexico, 157; explora- 
tions, 157; bibliography, 348. 

Council of the Indies, formation, 
224; development, 224; com- 
position, 225; duties, 225; 
body of law, 226; English 
prototypes, 226. 

Council, in Spanish colonies, 232, 


Courts, colonial audiencias, 227, 

Cozumel, Cordova at, 150. 

Cuba, discovered, 24; Columbus 
coasts, 40; considered main- 
land, 40 ; circumnavigated, 
105; settled, 149; population 
(i574) 197; representation, 
222; captaincy-general, 231; 
slavery, 279; trade, 296. 

Customs, Spanish colonial, 240. 

DARIEN. See Castilla del Oro. 

Demarcation line, papal estab- 
lishment, 3 1 ; alteration by 
treaty, 32; and Spice Islands, 
114, 118, 130-132. 

Diaz, Bartholomew, voyage, 6. 

Diaz, Bernal, memoirs, 155; on 
condition of Indians, 200. 

Diaz, Melchior, exploration, 171. 

Discoveries, bibliography, 320- 
323, 338, 341. See also Ex- 
plorations, Voyages. 

Dulmo, Ferdinand, grant and 
voyage, 7. 

EAST INDIES, Gama reaches, 72, 
73; Spanish claim, 130-132. 
See also Asia. 

Economic conditions, encomien- 
das, 206, 209-211, 255, 256, 
*6o; royal promotion, 215- 
217; in 1508, 218; royal rev- 
enue and monopolies, 239 ; 
Indian labor, 260-264; farm- 
ing, 298; grazing, 299, 300; 
private fortunes, 299, 300; 
manufacturing, 300; mining, 
300. See also Trade. 

Education, English colonies, 
195; Spanish colonies, Indi- 
an schools, 259, 263, 308; 
Indian colleges, 309; Creole 
universities, 309, 311; famous 
scholars, 310; achievements, 
312; diffusion, 315. 



Elyot, Hugh, charter, 62; voy- 
age, 63. 

Emigration to Spanish colonies, 
orthodox restriction, 207, 218, 
243; temporary freedom, 243, 
245; thoroughness of restric- 
tion, 243; protests against re- 
striction, 244; of foreigners, 
245-247; policy of Philip II, 
246; and English policy, 247, 
248 ; amount, 250-252 ; ex- 
pense, 252; of single women, 

Emmanuel, and Corte-Real, 65 ; 
renews exploration, 71 ; and 
Gama's success, 73. 

Encomiendas, origin, 206; de- 
velopment, 209-2 1 1 ; and serf- 
dom, 255; New Laws, 255; 
abolition, 256 ; duties of hold- 
ers, 260. 

England, Bristol charter voy- 
ages, 62, 63 ; Atlantic explora- 
tions, 54, 55 ; Cabot's voyages, 
55-62; asiento, 274, 295. 

Equator crossed, 6. 

Espafiola, discovered, 25; first 
settlement, 25 ; preparation for 
colonizing, 34 ; first settle- 
ment destroyed, 35; Isabella 
founded, 36; sickness, 36, 
40; inland explorations, 36, 
39; Columbus on needs, 37, 
38 ; insubordination, 39, 43 ; 
oppression of natives, 42 ; 
war, 43 ; tribute, 43 ; depopu- 
lated, 44; criminal colonists, 
46 ; paid settlers, 46 ; Santo 
Domingo founded, 49; revolt, 
49, 50; Bobadilla governor, 
5 1 ; Columbus's government, 
52; Columbus at (1502), 77 J 
hurricane, 78 ; Colon gov- 
ernor, 149; condition (i$74) 
197; (1508), 217; municipal 
government, 227; audiencia, 
227, 229; immigration and 
emigration, 248; feudal lord- 
ships, 249. 

Estevanico, with Vaca, 161 ; with 
Friar Marcos, 169; killed, 170. 

Explorations, discovery of Pa- 
cific, 109-111; conquest of 
Mexico, 153-157: Central 
American, 158; Narvaez 
(1527), 159; Vaca (1534- 
1536), 161; Soto (1539- 
1543), 163-168; Friar Mar- 
cos (1539), 169; Coronado 
(1540* 154'), 170-174; South 
American, 191-193; of in- 
terior of United States, 193; 
bibliography on coast, 332- 
J34, 342-348 ; bibliography on 
interior, 334, 348-349- See 
also Voyages. 

FARNANDEZ, charter, 62. 

Federmann, exploration, 192. 

Ferdinand and Isabella, an- 
nounce the discovery, 29; 
sceptical of Asian land-fall, 
30; and demarcation line, 31; 
and Columbus, 33, 45, 51, 
53; and freedom of trade, 45, 
282; and Indians, 207-210; 
promotion of colonization, 215- 
217; and negro slavery, 269, 

Feudalism in Spanish colonies, 


Florida, discovered, 134; Ponce's 
colony, 135; Narvaez's ex- 
ploration, 159; Soto's com- 
mission, 1 62 ; extent, 1 75 ; 
Velasco's settlement, 175; Hu- 
guenot settlement, 175, 176; 
its menace, 177-179; Menen- 
dez's colony, 177; Huguenots 
annihilated, 1 78- 1 87 ; Gour- 
gues's revenge, 187-189; slow 
growth, 189. 

Fonseca, Juan de, and Hojeda, 
67; colonial minister, 221; 
character, 221; in colonial 
council, 224. 

France, Verrazano's voyage, 
* 43- * 45 ; Carrier's voyage, 



145-148; and Huguenot col 
ony, 187. 

Francis I., interest in America 
144, 145, 147. 

GAMA, VASCO DA, voyage, 72 
bibliography, 329, 345. 

Gante, Pedro de, school, 308. 

Garay, Francisco de, expedition 
136; attempted settlement, 
137; and Cortes, 138; death 

Geography, pear-shaped earth 
48; extension of knowledge 
(1580), 191-194; bibliogra- 
phy, 320-323, 340. See also 
America, Explorations, Maps, 
North America, South Amer- 
ica, Voyages. 

Gomez, Estevan, deserts Magel- 
lan, 125, 140; project and 
voyage, 141 ; bibliography, 


Gordillo, Francisco, voyage, 

Gourgues, Dominic de, revenges 
Huguenots, 187-189. 

Government. See Colonies. 

Governor in Spanish colonies, 

Gracias a Dios, Cape, discov- 
ered, 79. 

Grants. See Charters, Patents. 

Greenland, discovery and settle- 
ment, 5; survival of colony, 
34 n. ; Corte-Real reaches, 64. 

Grijalva, Juan de, voyage, 151. 

Guadalajara, audiencia, 232. 

Guatemala, Alvarado in, 158; 
audiencia, 229; captaincy-gen- 
eral, 231. 

Gujdisalvus, John, voyage, 62. 

Guipuzcoa Company, 295, 297. 

HAVANA, sacked, 179; popula- 
tion (1574), 198; English 
control, 296. 

Henry VII., and Columbus, 16; 
and Cabot, 56, 58- 

Henry the Navigator, Prince, 

explorations, 5 ; and discovery 

of America, 75. 
Hochelaga, Carrier at, 146. 
Hojeda, Alonso de, explores Es- 

pafiola, 36 ; voyage, 67-69 ; 

colony, 1 06, 107; death, 107; 

bibliography, 331, 346. 
Honduras, Cort6s in, 158. 
Horn, Cape, discovered, 191 n. 
Hudson River, Verrazano on, 

Huguenots. See Florida. 

ICELAND, discovery, 5 ; Bristol 
seamen at, 54. 

Indians in Spanish colonies, 
named, 23; enslavement, 38, 
50, 138, 139, 141; oppression, 
42; tribute, 43, 259; decrease 
on islands, 44, 211-214; revolt 
at Espanola, 49 ; and Balboa, 
109; cannibals, 113; attitude 
of Charles V., 137; attacks 
on Soto, 164, 165; Coronado's 
treatment, 172; conversion, 
178, 204, 303; policy and 
treatment, 196, 253-258, 263; 
condition (1574), 197-201 ; 
encomiendas, 206-2 1 1 , 255, 
256, 260; royal instructions, 
207; poll-tax, 239; village 
life, 258, 259; schools, 259, 
263, 308; slavery prohibited, 
260 ; labor regulations, 260 ; 
in mines, 261, 264; economic 
status, 262 ; trades, 262, 268 ; 
in Peru, 263, 264; blends, 
266; wealthy, 299; mission 
life, 305; colleges, 309; ex- 
empt from Inquisition, 312. 

Inquisition in Spanish colonies, 
244 ; Indians exempt, 312; 
methods and activity, 313; 
prohibited books, 514. 

Intendencias, Spanish colonial, 


[rala, Martinez de, exploration, 



Isabella, aids Columbus, 17. See 
also Ferdinand and Isabella. 

JAMAICA, discovered, 40, 42 ; in 
'574. 198; slavery, 279. 

Jay, John, voyage, 55. 

John II., explorations, 6; and 
Columbus, 15, 26, 30; and de- 
marcation line, 32. 


La Cosa, Juan de, with Colum- 
bus, 21 ; oath on Cuba, 41; 
map (1500), 41; map and 
Cabot's voyages, 60; voyages, 
67; map and Hojeda's voyage, 
68; and Pinzon's voyage, 70; 
and Bastidas, 71 ; in New An- 
dalusia, 1 06; killed, 1 06. 

Ladrones discovered, 126. 

La Plata, neglected, 204- audi- 
encia, 232. See also Buenos 

La Plata, Rio de, discovered, 
113; explored, 192. 

Las Casas, on Vespucci, 92 ; and 
name America, 102; on Ma- 
gellan, 119; in Cuba, 149; 
and Indians, 217, 255-257; 
and negro slavery, 271; bibli- 
ography, 351. 

Laudonniere, Ren de, in Flori- 
da, 176, 177- 

Ledesma, Pedro de, voyage, 105. 

Legislation for Spanish colonies, 
221, 226; New Laws, 255; 
slave code, 280. 

Lepe, voyage, 88. 

Lima, in 1574, 200; audiencia, 
229, 232; slavery, 278; direct 
European trade, 295 ; univer- 
sity, 303, 3"- 

Loaysa, Garcia de, voyage, 131 ; 
in colonial council, 225. 

Local government in Spanish 
colonies, assimilated to Span- 
ish, 227; executives, 234, 235 
n. ; self-government, 235 ; 
elected councils, 235; councils 

become close corporations, 236 ; 
composition of council, 236; 
its functions, 237; proctors, 


Lopez, atlas (1758), 101. 
Los Charcas, audiencia, 229. 
Lower California, explored, 158; 

peninsula, 173. 

years, 115; in the East, 116; 
project, 1 1 6, 118; goes to 
Spain, 1 1 6 : and Charles V., 
118-120; patent, 120; Portu- 
gal's protest, 120; fleet, 120; 
on South American coast, 
121 ; mutiny, 122-124; in the 
strait, 124; on the Pacific, 
126; at Philippines, 126; 
killed, 127; achievement, 127; 
return of expedition, 128, 129; 
reception of survivors, 129; 
financial return, 129; lost day, 
130 ; political results, 130-132 ; 
scientific results, 132; bibliog- 
raphy, 332, 347. 

Magellan, Strait of, first pas- 
sage, 124. 

Malacca, attempt to discover, 
89; Portuguese reach, 113. 

Manila, audiencia, 232. 

Manufactures in Spanish colo- 
nies, 262, 300. 

Maps, Mauro, 5; Benincasa 
(1482), 6; Toscanelli, 13; La 
Cosa (1500), AI, 60, 68, 70; 
Cantino (1502), 61, 64; B. 
Columbus (1503), 95; Ruysch 
(1508), 98; Vespucci (1523), 
101 ; Mercator (1541), 102; 
Ribeiro (1529), 140; Maggi- 
olo (1527), 144; Verrazano 

( 1529), 144- 
Marcos, Friar, reconnoissance, 

169; report, 170. 
Marina, Cortes's interpreter, 


Martyr, Peter, letters, 28; 
doubts Asian land-fall, 30; 



on Vespucci, 92; uses name 
New World, 95, 96 ; on Span- 
ish empire, 142 ; in colonial 
council, 224. 

Mauro, Friar, map, 5. 

Mediterranean, historic centra 
sea, 3. 

Mendez, Diego, rescues Colum- 
bus, 80. 

Mendocino, Cape, named, 174. 

Menendez de Aviles, Pedro, 
patent for Florida, 177; prep- 
aration against Huguenots, 
178, 1 79 ; founds St. Augus- 
tine, 179; destroys Huguenots, 
180-186; question of perfidy, 
1 86; extenuation, 189. 

Mercator, globe (1541), 102. 

Mexico, Cordova on coast, 150; 
Grijalva on coast, 151 ; con- 
quest, 152-157; Aztec rule, 
154; Cortes fosters, 157; in 
1574, 198; audiencia, 229, 
232, 233 ; character of gov- 
ernment, 242, 316; slavery, 
278; Indian education, 308, 
309 ; university, 309 ; scholars, 
310. See also Colonies. 

Mexico, Gulf of, exploration, 


Mining, royal fifth, 239; im- 
portance, 241 ; Indian labor, 
261, 264; wealth, 300. 

Missions, 305 ; bibliography, 

336 350. 
Mississippi River, and Pineda, 

137; Soto crosses, 165, 166. 
Mississippi Valley and Union, 

Mobile Bay, probable discovery, 


Moluccas, Portuguese reach, 
114; Spanish claim, 130-132. 

Monopolies, royal Spanish, 240. 

Morals, in Spanish colonies, 264, 
307; in Spain, 306. 

Moscoso, Luis de, Soto's suc- 
cessor, 167. 

in, 144. 

Narvaez, Pamfilo de, in Cuba, 
149; and Cortes, 156; grant, 
159; exploration, 159; fate, 
1 60. 

Navigation, Spanish promotion, 
223 ; time of voyages to New 
Spain, 288. 

New Andalusia, colony, 106, 
107; transferred, 108. See 
also Castilla del Oro. 

New Galicia, audiencia, 229. < 

New Granada, audiencia, 229; 
viceroyalty, 231. 

New Spain, kingdom, 229 ; di- 
visions, 229. See also Colo- 
nies, and divisions by name. 

New World, Vespucci's letter, 
9 93J earlier use, 93-98; 
named America, 98-102 ; other 
names, 101. 

Newfoundland, as Cabot's land- 
fall, 59; and Corte-Real, 64; 
Verrazano at, 144. 

Nicuesa, Diego de, colony, 106- 
108; fate, 108; bibliography, 

Nino, Alonso, voyage, 69; bib- 
liography, 330, 346. 

Nombre de Dios, settlement, 107. 

Norsemen, discoveries, 4. 

North America, Norsemen in, 
5; Cabot on coast, 59-61; 
Corte-Real on coast, 64, 65; 
first conjecture of continent, 
65; coast developed, 141, 
IQI; Gomez on coast, 141; 
Verrazano on coast, 143, 144; 
Verrazano Sea, 144, 145; 
western coast developed, 158, 
173, 191; Narvaez's explora- 
tion, 159; Vaca's journey, 
161 ; Soto's exploration, i63- 
168; Coronado's exploration, 
169-174; interior developed, 
193. See also America, Cen- 



tral America, and subdivisions 
Northwest passage, 141, 14.3. 

navigates Cuba, 105. 

Office, purchase and sale, 237- 

Olid, Cristoval de, in Central 
America, 158. 

Orellana, exploration, 193. 

Ovando, and Columbus, 78; ad- 
ministration, 207-211. 

PACIFIC OCEAN, discovery, 109- 
1 1 1 ; news in Spain, 112; 
named, 126; Magellan crosses, 
126; search for passage into, 
138, 141, 143, 158; crossed 
eastward, 191; bibliography 
on discovery, 33 1 . 

Panama, audiencia, 229, 232. 
See also Castilla del Oro. 

Patents, Dulmo (1486), 7; Co- 
lumbus (1492), 17, 18; Cabot, 
56, 60 ; Corte-Real (1500), 64 ; 
Hojeda and Nicuesa (1509), 
106; Magellan (1518), 120; 
Ponce (1512) 134, 135; Nar- 
vaez (1527), 159; De Soto 
( ! 538) 162; Menendez 
(1565), 177. See also Char- 

Pedrarias Davila and Balboa, 

Perez, Juan, and Columbus, 17; 
exploration, 135. 

Peru, heard of, 109; kingdom, 
229; audiencias, 229; treat- 
ment of Indians, 263, 264; 
trade restrictions, 289-292, 
297; scholars, 310. See also 

Philip II., and Florida, 176- 
179; upholds Menendez, 187; 
and colonial emigration, 246. 

Philippines, Magellan at, 126; 
Spanish claim, 132; expedi- 
tion from Mexico, 158; trade 
with New Spain, 289; re- 
strictions, 289; evasions, 289; 
fare and voyage, 290. 

Pineda, Alonzo de, voyage, 136. 

Pinzon, V. Y., voyage (1499), 
69; (1508), 87, 105; bibliog- 
raphy, 330, 331, 346. 

Pisa, Bernal de, plot, 39. 

Pizarro, Francisco, on main- 
land, 1 06. 

Pizarro, Gonzalo, on the Ama- 
zon, 192. 

Polo, Marco, Columbus studies, 

Ponce de Leon, Juan, career, 
133; voyage to Florida, 134; 
attempted colony, 135; epi- 
taph, 136; bibliography, 347. 

Population, Spanish ( 1 550 ) , 
191; English colonies, 1 94 ; 
Spanish colonies (1574), 196; 
separate colonies, 1 97-200 ; 
negro, in Spanish America, 

Port St. Julian, Magellan in, 


Porto Bello, fair, 292 ,* mortality, 


Porto Rico, explored, 134; in 
1574, 198. 

Portugal, explorations, 5-7; and 
Columbus, 15, 26, 30; and 
bull of demarcation, 3 1 ; treaty 
of Tordesillas, 32 ; Corte-Real 
voyages, 64-66; reaches In- 
dia, 72, 73; claim to Brazil, 
74; conquers Malacca, 113; 
reaches Spice Islands, 114; 
and Magellan's project, 116, 
120; and Spain in East In- 
dies, 130-132. 

Printing in Spanish colonies, 

314,315*, . 

Proctors of colonial municipali- 
ties, 237. 



QUESADA, G. X. DE, exploration, 

Quito, Spanish reach, 192; in 

1574, 200; audiencia, 229, 


RACE mixtures in Spanish col- 
onies, 266. 

Repartimientos. See Encomi- 

Representation in Spanish col- 
onies, 227, 228, 235. 

Residencia, purpose, 231; effi- 
cacy, 232. 

Revenues, royal from Spanish 
colonies, 239, 303. 

Ribaut, Jean, settlement, 176, 
177; fleet scattered, 180-182; 
parley with Menendez, 183- 
185; slain, 185. 

Ribeiro, map (1529), 140. 

Roberval, lord of, colony, 147. 

Roldan, Francis, revolt, 49 ; fate, 

Ruysch, map (1508), 98. 


St. Augustine, founded, 180. 

St. Lawrence, Gulf of, Cartier 
in, 145, 146. 

St. Lawrence River, Cartier on, 
146, 147. 

Sandoval, Alphonso, anti-slav- 
ery, 277. 

Santo Domingo, founded, 49 ; 
population (1574), I97J au- 
diencia, 232. See also Es- 

Santiago, population (1574), 

Self-government, in English col- 
onies, 1 95 ; in Spanish colo- 
nies, 228, 235. 

Serrao, Jpao, killed, 128. 

Seven Cities, myth, 6, 7, 169; 
and Zuni pueblos, 169, 171. 

Seville, colonial trade, 282, 295. 

Slave-trade, Indian, Columbus's 

connection, 38, 50; Hojeda^s 
iture, f 
9> 141- 

venture, 68; raids, 133, 138; 


Slave-trade, negro, to Spanish 
colonies, in Christianized ne- 
groes, 269 ; beginning of Afri- 
can, 270; asientos, 271-274; 
English asiento, 274, 295; ex- 
tent, 275. 

Slavery in Spanish colonies, 
number of slaves, 197, 275, 
278-280; Indian, prohibited, 
260; negro, policy, 270; and 
sugar industry, 272; mortality 
and acclimation, 276; ratio of 
slaves, 276; prices, 276; pro- 
test, 277; white, 277; negro, 
in New Spain, 278; freed- 
men, 278, 279, 281; in Peru, 
278; in Cuba, 279; code, 280; 
treatment, 281. 

Social conditions in Spanish col- 
onies, in 1508, 218; immi- 
gration regulations, 207, 218, 
243-248, 265; feudal lord- 
ships, 49; Indian, 258, 259; 
marriage regulations, 264- 
266 ; race blends, 266 ; charac- 
ter of whites, 267 ; race pride, 
268; negro slaves, 275-281; 
white slaves, 277 ; church, 304 ; 
Indian missions, 305; moral- 
ity, 306-308 ; education, 308- 
312; Inquisition, 3 1 2-3 1 4 ; 
printing, 314, 315; future, in 
Spanish America, 318. 

Solis, J. D. de, voyage (1508), 
105; (1514). I**; death, 

Sorie, sacks Havana, 17^. 

Soto, Hernando de, in Peru, 
162; expedition to Florida, 
162, 163; inland exploration, 
163-167; crosses the Missis- 
sippi, 165, 166; death, 167; 
return of expedition, 167, 168; 
place in history, 174; bibli- 
ography, 334, 349. 

Sources, on discoveries, 322, 



323, 325-334; o Columbus, 
325-328; on other voyages, 
328-332; on coast explora- 
tions, 332, 333 ; on inland ex- 
plorations, 334; on Spanish 
colonial system, 335. 

South America, Columbus on 
coast, 47; earthly paradise, 
48; Hojeda, 68; Nino, 69; 
Pinzon and Lepe, 69, 70, 105; 
development of coast-line 
(1502), 71; Bastidas coasts, 
7 1 ; Cabral, 74 ; Solis, 112; 
Magellan, 121, 124; inland 
explorations, 1 9 i-i 93 \ con- 
dition (i574> *99- See also 
America, and subdivisions by 

South Georgia, discovered, 89. 

Spain, demarcation line, 30-32; 
and discovery of Pacific, 112; 
claim to East Indies, 130-132; 
achievement, 190; area and 
population (1550), 191; de ~ 
velops American geography, 
191-194; sexual morality, 
306. See also Colonies and 
references there under, Ex- 
plorations, Voyages, and ad- 
venturers by name. 

Spanish America, condition 
(1800), and United States, 
315; Union, 3 1 6-3 1 8 ; present 
and future social condition, 
318. See also Colonies. 

Stadacone, Cartier at, 146, 147. 

TAXATION, Indian poll, 239; 
other Spanish colonial, 240. 

Tellez, Fernam, voyage, 6. 

Thorne, Richard, voyage, 63. 

Tobacco, first seen, 25. 

Tomson, Robert, heresy, 244. 

Toscanelli, Paolo, letters and 
chart, 11-13; influence on Co- 
lumbus, 13. 

Tovar, exploration, 172. 

Trade, Icelandic, 54. 

Trade, Spanish colonial, tem- 

porary freedom, 45, 282; in 
1506, 104; character, 142; 
royal promotion, 216; re- 
stricted, 218, 241; control 
by Casa de Contratacion, 222, 
223; license to foreigners, 
245, 246; slave-trade, 269- 
276; Seville's monopoly, 282, 
283; petition for free export, 
283; Cadiz a port, 284; in- 
dependent, 284; system of 
fleets, 284-288; evasion of 
system, 286 ; length of voyage, 
288; restrictions on interco- 
lonial, 289-292 ; smuggling, 
291, 294, 296; fairs, 291-293; 
overland to Peru, 291; sys- 
tem inadequate, 294; effect of 
Spanish Succession war, 294; 
temporary French, 295; Eng- 
lish asiento, 295; monopoly 
overthrown, 295-297 ; fleets 
discontinued, 296; restrictions 
on intercolonial removed, 297 ; 
bibliography, 337, 35 * 
Treaties, Tordesillas (i949> 32, 
69 ; Spain- Portugal ( 1 529) 

Trinidad, discovery, 47- 

ULLOA, exploration, 158. 

Union, Spanish- American, 316- 

318; conditions favoring 

American, 316. 
Urdaneta, crosses Pacific, 191. 

VACA, CABEgA DE, and Narvaez, 
159; journey, 160; credibility, 
162; bibliography, 334, 349- 

Vadillo, exploration, 192. 

Velasco, J. L. de, Description of 
the Indies, 196-200. 

Velasco, Luis de, colony, 175- 

Velasquez, Diego, conquers Cu- 
ba, 149; expeditions to Mex- 
ico, 150-153; and Cort6s, 152. 

Venezuela, named, 68; in 1574. 
198; captaincy-general, 231; 



granted to Welsers, 245 ; trade 
294, 297. 

Vera Cruz, founded, 154; in 
1574, 198; fair, 293. 

Verrazano, Giovanni da, career, 
143; voyage, 143-145; voy- 
age to Brazil, 145; bibliog- 
raphy, 333- 

Vespucci, Amerigo, in Hojeda's 
voyage, 67 ; date of voyage, 68, 
85-88; second voyage, 71, 88; 
celebrity, 84; birth, 84; busi- 
ness life, 85 ; third voyage, 88 ; 
fourth voyage, 89; position in 
the voyages, 89; letters to 
Medici and Soderini, oo ; their 
popularity, 90-93 ; and Iberian 
writers, 92 ; association with 
New World, 93, 97; and 
name America, 98-101 ; mod- 
ern fame, 103; bibliography, 
330, 346. 

Vespucci, Giovanni, map, 101. 

Viceroy, position, 229 ; report, 
230; term, 230; salary, 230; 
inquest into conduct, 231 ; and 
audiencia, 233. 

Villafane, exploration, 175. 

Vivaldi, voyage 4. 

Voyages, Norsemen, 4; Vivaldi 
(1291), 4; Portuguese, 5-7; 
Tellez (1474), 6; Diaz 
(1487), 6; Dulmo (1487), 7J 
Columbus's first (1492), 18- 
26; second (i493), 34, 35, 40- 
42, 44: temporary freedom, 
45; Columbus's third (1498), 
46-48; early English, 54, 55; 
Cabot (i497, 1498), 55-62; 
under Bristol charters (1502), 

62, 63; Corte-Real (1500- 
1502), 64-66; Hojeda (1499). 
67-69; Pinzon (1499), 69; 
Lepe (1500), 70, 88; Basti- 
das (1500), 71 ; Gama (1497), 
72 ; Cabral ( 1500), 73 ; Colum- 
bus's fourth (1502-1504), 77- 
81; Vespucci (1501), 88; 
(1503)* 89; Coelho (1501), 
89; Pinzon (1508), 105; Solis 
(1514), 112; Magellan, 120- 
1 32 ; Loaysa, 131; Bering 
(1728), 132; Ponce (1512, 
I 5 I 3) I 34~ I 36; Pineda 
(1519). 136; Gordillo (1521), 
138; Gomez (1525), 141; 
Verrazano (1524), 143-145; 
Cartier (1534), '45; O535)> 
146; (1541), 147; Cordova 
(1517), 150; Grijalva (1518), 
151; Nino (1499), 169; Ca- 
brillo (1542), 173; bibliog- 
raphy, 325-334, 344-349- See 
also Explorations. 

name America, 98-101. 

Warde, Richard, charter, 62. 

West Indies, origin of name, 95. 
See also islands by name. 

Witchcraft in Spanish colonies, 

YUCATAN, Cordova rounds, 151; 
in 1574, 199. 

ZUAGO, protest on emigration, 

Zuni pueblos, Friar Marcos's re- 
port, 169; Coronado at, 171. 

1 24 542